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Singapore Airlines takes off tonight for the world’s longest flight

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Singapore Airlines takes off tonight for the world’s longest flight | The Thaiger

The world’s longest commercial flight takes off from Singapore tomorrow morning, with the national airline resuming its non-stop route to New York for the first time since 2013. Singapore Airlines previously flew Airbus A340s on the route, but the four-engine aircraft proved to be fuel guzzlers and made the non-stop flight economically unsustainable.

The flight will cover a 16,700 kilometres and take almost 19 hours (imagine 19 hours in a Lion Air economy seat!).

The airline will operate the flight three times a week but are looking to increase frequency to a daily service later this year.

Flight SQ 22 is due to depart at 2.35am Friday from Changi Airport in Singapore and will arrive in at Newark Liberty International Airport at 6am on the same day, Friday, New York time.

Singapore Airlines is flying the new Airbus A350-900ULR (ultra long range) on the route. The plane will feature no economy class, with just 67 business class and 94 premium economy class seats.

While the airline’s business class on board the ULR Airbus remains the same as its shorter-range A350s, Singapore has tweaked its premium economy seats for the long seating time. While the size of the seat is the same – 38 inches (96cm) of pitch and 19 inches (48cm) wide – a new calf rest has been added to increase comfort.

Singapore Airlines takes off tonight for the world's longest flight | News by The Thaiger

Singapore Airlines takes off tonight for the world's longest flight | News by The ThaigerWhile airlines are typically able to charge more for non-stop flights, Singapore Airlines is offering initial fares from as low as $S1438 (34,159 Baht) return for premium economy from Singapore to Newark.

Advances in technology mean the A350 can carry 165,000 litres of fuel with 161 passengers on board. The all business-class A340, by contrast, carried 223,000 litres of fuel for just 100 passengers.

Airbus is building just seven of the ULR version of the A350-900, all for Singapore Airlines to fly on US routes. The airline intends to also fly non-stop to Los Angeles using the aircraft.

The Top 10 world’s longest flights…

• Singapore-New York – 16,700km
• Doha-Auckland, Qatar Airways – 14,529km
• London-Perth, Qantas – 14,496km
• Dubai-Auckland, Emirates – 14,200km
• Los Angeles-Singapore, United Airlines – 14,113km
• Houston-Sydney, United Airlines – 13,833km
• Sydney-Dallas, Qantas – 13,804km
• San Francisco-Singapore, United Airlines & Singapore Airlines – 13,592km
• Atlanta-Johannesburg, Delta – 13,581km
• Abu Dhabi-Los Angeles, Etihad – 13,502km



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Southeast Asia

Australian officials urge Thai authorities to release Hakeem AlAraibi

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Australian officials urge Thai authorities to release Hakeem AlAraibi | The Thaiger

“FIFA, world soccer’s ruling body, is also calling on the Thai authorities to allow for the return of AlAraibi to Australia at “the earliest possible moment”.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne is urging Thai authorities to release a footballer who holds a refugee status in Australia and who has been detained in Bangkok for nearly two weeks.

Hakeem AlAraibi, a former member of Bahrain’s national soccer team who has been critical of the country’s government, was arrested in Thailand on November 27 based on an Interpol notice issued at Bahrain’s request.

AlAraibi was convicted of vandalising a police station in Bahrain and sentenced to 10 years in prison in absentia. He has denied any wrongdoing.

“Australia is concerned by the ongoing detention of Mr. Hakeem Ali AlAraibi and calls for his immediate return to Australia,” Payne said in a statement published on the ministry’s website.

“Returning Mr. AlAraibi to Bahrain, from where he fled, would contravene his rights under international human rights law.”

At a court hearing on Friday, AlAraibi was served with a formal arrest warrant, which could pave the way for a possible extradition to Bahrain.

Read more from Channel News Asia HERE.

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New Thai 1,000 baht note wins international award

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New Thai 1,000 baht note wins international award | The Thaiger

The first new Thai 1,000 baht banknotes, featuring the image of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn, has won The Best New Banknote Award at the High Security Printing Asia 2018 international conference held in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The banknote was awarded for its unique printing technology using the optically variable magnetic ink (OVMI), the first of its kind for Thai banknotes which creates three-dimensional moving patterns and switching colours when observing from different angles.

It was named the Best New Banknote at the three-day High Security Printing Asia 2018 forum in Hanoi that ended on Wednesday, according to the Bank of Thailand’s announcement on Friday.

New Thai 1,000 baht note wins international award | News by The Thaiger

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Asia’s struggle with democracy – Thailand ranks #107 in the world

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Asia’s struggle with democracy – Thailand ranks #107 in the world | The Thaiger

by By DataLEADS

In the wake of the confirmation from the Thai Government about a firm date for the next election, a survey has been released which measures the Asian democracies. Thais go to the polls to elect a new government on February 2019, the first time since they elected Yingluck Shinawatra’s Pheu Thai party in 2011.

The report says that Asia has made strong headway in advancing democracy but still has a long way to go in some countries, compared to other more established democracies in the world.

The Economic Intelligence Unit’s report on Democracy Index is based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and politicalculture. Countries are then ranked on a scale of 1-10 and classifies them as ‘full democracy’, ‘flawed democracy’, ‘hybrid regime’ and ‘authoritarian regime’.

Many Asian countries figure in the list of 166 countries, yet none, according to the report, has reached ‘full democracy’.

In Asia South Korea figures at the top. The country is ranked 20th, a jump from 24th position in 2016.  The improvement in score is attributed to a popular movement which led to the impeachment of the then president, Park Geun-hye, who was found guilty of embezzlement.

Japan ranks second in Asia but 23 globally. India is ranked third in Asia and 42 globally. The country saw a steep dip in its ranking from 32nd to 42nd place. The decline in the ranking is owed to the rising right wing force and attack on minorities and dissenting voices.

Philippines is ranks fourth in Asia and 51 globally. According to the report the declaration of martial law in the southern part of the country and Rodrigo Duterte’s continuous infringement of the democratic values has adversely affects the country’s democratic culture. Malaysia is ranked fifth in Asia and 59 globally followed by Mongolia and Sri Lanka globally ranked 60 and 62 respectively.

Indonesia has fallen from 48th position to 68thposition mostly due to stringent blasphemy laws that have been used to curb the freedom of expression regularly.  It is followed by Singapore which is ranked 69 globally but still operates more as a family-run business than a government. Nepal and Bhutan are ranked 94 and 99 respectively. Thailand is ranked 107 globally

Blasphemy laws in Pakistan and media censorship has created hindrances in the functioning of democracy. The country is ranked 110 followed by Myanmar and Cambodia.

Censorship of social media in China and the consolidation of power by Chinese leader has resulted in a stifling regime in the country. Journalists are constinously locked up and freedom of speech is not granted. According to the report the country is classified as authoritarian followed by Vietnam and Laos ranked 140 and 151 respectively.

Asia's struggle with democracy - Thailand ranks #107 in the world | News by The Thaiger

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