Wanted activists attend rally and surrender to police

Flag of Thailand.svg

Breaking News February 10, 2018 21:06

By The Nation

Three wanted activists turned themselves in to the police on Saturday night soon after leading an assembly calling on the junta to hold the long-delayed election.


“This is not our last day. We will keep fighting together. We hope that today will mark the start of our fight,” activists Rangsiman Rome and Sirawit Serithiwat shouted before getting into the police van.

Before turning themselves in, Rangsiman, Sirawit and Anon Nampa spent two hours making speeches calling for elections this year, an end to “authoritarianism”, and a return to democracy.

They were taken to Samranrat Police Station before being brought to Pathumwan Police Station, which had first sought arrest warrants for them.

No charges are being pressed as of now against participants numbering over a hundred who took part in Saturday’s rally.

The rally was meant to kick-start a series of protests until their demands are met.

The activists spoke from a pickup truck where some participants, who claimed to be former protesters of the whistle-blowing former People’s Democratic Reform Committee also joined, carrying satirical caricatures of Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan.

“No matter what ‘colour’, we can unite to fight the junta,” said an activist, Nuttaa Mahattana.

“We act as the government’s opposition, as parliament is now fully under their control,” she said. “We are not afraid of the junta’s orders, which should be regarded as less than the constitution.”

Arrest warrants had earlier been issued for the three activists on charges of sedition, violating the junta’s order banning political gatherings and the public assembly bill.

Activist Ekachai Hongkangwan, also wanted for the same charges, was arrested earlier in the morning.

The charges were pressed against them as they were considered key figures of an earlier pro-election assembly held on January 27, when 39 activists, students and journalists were also arrested.


Source : The Nation Multimedia

Law reformer fears for foresty officers in Premchai case

Flag of Thailand.svg

 Thung Yai chief Wichian Chinwong (in the middle).

national February 10, 2018 14:38

By The Nation

A forestry reformer has expressed concerns about the safety of Thung Yai chief Wichian Chinwong and his subordinates after they arrested the president of the Italian-Thai Development Plc (ITD), Premchai Karnasuta.


Premchai and three of his companions are accused of poaching and possessing wildlife at the Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary in Kanchanaburi province last weekend.

The four had entered the sanctuary on Saturday, February 3, before being captured by rangers on Sunday after they were allegedly seen possessing firearms, ammunition and the carcasses of wild animals, including the rare black leopard.

On Tuesday, were charged with nine offences related to illegal poaching and possessing wildlife in the World Heritage Site sanctuary.

However, Assistant Professor Khwanchai Duangsathaporn, of Kasetsart University’s Forestry Faculty, and a member of the natural resources and environment reform committee, said considering the relatively weak mechanisms in regard to forest suppression and justice, he was concerned about the team’s safety.

Khwanchai urged the relevant agencies to provide thorough and continued support to the team to fight the case, especially legal support. Past experience suggested that forest officials had not been supported, and sometimes faced charges themselves, after arresting influential figures.

The professor proposed that long-term and more consistent mechanisms be put in place, including more severe penalties.

Khwanchai said the present wildlife conservation law carries relatively light penalties. It has no penalties for those who sneak into the forest without permission , and does not demand compensation for damage done.

He said members of the reform committee have been working on amending the wildlife conservation law to provide for more hefty penalties. Those proposed amendments are now with the Council of the State, and the changes need to be expedited.

The amendment would see those sneaking into the forest facing a jail term of no more than six months, a fine up to Bt100,000, or both.

Those poaching in the forest could be sentenced 3 to 10 years and a fine from Bt60,000 to Bt2 million, compared to the present penalties of a five-year jail term, a fine of no more than Bt50,000, or both.

The new amendment also demands compensation from the wrongdoers, the professor added.

Khwanchai said that, besides the law amendment, forces to suppress forest crimes must be upgraded, and a more capable forest crime suppression unit with integrated knowledge and expertise should be introduced within the next three years, along with a new environmental court.

Last but not least, Khwanchai said, the social security benefits of forest rangers should be improved to support their morale.

Thung Yai black leopard ‘shot eight times’

Flag of Thailand.svg

national February 10, 2018 17:09

By The Nation

The black leopard killed at Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary in Kanchanaburi was hit by a total of eight bullets, a forensic examination has revealed.


Police and forensic officers provided an update on Friday on the examination of the wild animal carcasses that were found within the camping area of Italian-Thai Development Plc president Premchai Karnasuta.

According to an autopsy and analysis of bullet trajectories, there were eight bullet holes on its body and the bullets were fired into the front of the rare animal.

The head of Kanchanaburi Police forensic unit, Pol Colonel Sommai Chotikanawin, said the team was conducting autopsies on the wild animal parts seized as evidence in the poaching case against Premchai.

Examination on the carcasses of a Kalij pheasant and a barking deer were still not complete. Sommai said the results of the examination of the animal carcasses would be use in litigating the case.


Source :  The Nation Multimedia

German defense minister in Baghdad for talks: agency

Flag of Iraq.svg

Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Germany’s defense minister ursula Von der Leyen arrived on Friday in Baghdad to discuss with Iraqi officials the battle against Islamic State militants, according to DPA news agency.

Der Leyen is scheduled to meet Saturday with Iraqi President Fuad Masum and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

Germany has been a member of the United States-led coalition to fight Islamic State militants.

The mandate for German troops fighting IS in Iraq and Syria is expected to expire in a few weeks.

Currently, there are 150 German troopers stationed near Kurdistan Region’s capital Erbil for the purpose of training of Kurdish troops.

Iraqi declared victory over Islamic State militants in December, ending a three-year campaign backed by the international coalition to eliminate the militants’ self-styled “caliphate”.

But the group still poses a security challenge with occasional attacks against civilians and security members.


Source : Iraqi News


Six people, including security personnel, killed, wounded in two bomb blasts in Baghdad

Flag of Iraq.svg

Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Six people, including security personnel, were killed and wounded in two bomb blasts in south of Baghdad, security sources said on Saturday.

“A bomb exploded near a market in al-Yusufiya region, south of Baghdad, leaving one person killed and three others wounded,” the source told Baghdad Today. “Ambulance rushed to the blast spot and transferred the wounded to hospital for treatment, while the victim was taken to forensic medicine department.”

Moreover, two tribal fighters were injured in another bomb explosion in south of the capital.

“A bomb went off, today, on the side of a road in Arab Jabour region, south of Baghdad, targeting a patrol of the Tribal Mobilization Forces,” another source told Alghad Press.

“The blast left two personnel wounded,” the source added. “Security cordoned off the explosion scene and conducted investigations , while the wounded were taken to hospital.”

A total of 115 Iraqi civilians, excluding policemen, were killed and another 250 injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq in January 2018, according to casualty figures recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

Baghdad was the worst affected governorate, with 323 civilian casualties (90 killed, 233 injured). Diyala followed, with 8 killed and 15 injured; and Nineveh, with 13 killed and 7 injured.

As many as 3,298 civilians were killed and 4,781 others were wounded in 2017, excluding Anbar civilian casualty figures for November and December, which are not available, UNAMI said in a report in December.


Source :  Iraq News

Troops kill suicide attacker before blowing himself up, south of Mosul

Flag of Iraq.svg

Mosul (IraqiNews.com) The pro-government paramilitary troops have killed a suicide attacker as he was trying to blow up himself in southwest of Mosul, a security source was quoted saying on Saturday.

Speaking to Baghdad Today website, the source said, “ troops of al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) killed a suicide attacker, wearing a suicide belt, in a village in Hatra region, southwest of Mosul, before he blew up himself.”

Moreover, the military intelligence department announced today confiscating suicide belts and explosives in west of Mosul.

On Monday, security troops reportedly killed five suicide attackers in a village in Hammam al-Alil, south of Nineveh.

Islamic State continues to launch sporadic attacks across Iraq against troops. Security reports indicate that the militant group still poses threat against stability in the country.

A total of 115 Iraqi civilians, excluding policemen, were killed and another 250 injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq in January 2018, according to casualty figures recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi declared in July victory over IS militants who had held the second largest Iraqi city since 2014.

Thousands of IS militants as well as Iraqi civilians were killed since the government campaign, backed by paramilitary troops and the coalition, was launched in October 2016 to fight the militant group.

Source :  Iraqi News

More than 20 Russian films banned from release in Ukraine in 2017

Flag of Russia.svg

In 2015 the law “On protection of information television and radio space” prohibited the screening of films in Ukraine that, according to Kiev, contain “Russian propaganda”

© Kirill Kukhmar/TASS

KIEV, February 9. /TASS/. The Ukrainian State Film Agency last year banned 22 Russian movies from release at Ukrainian cinemas and permitted the release of six films.

“The total number of films produced in the Russian Federation that passed the Agency’s Expert Commission on Film Distribution and Screening is 48, 22 of which were banned,” the Ukrainian State Film Agency said, responding to a Ukrainian News inquiry.

Six Russian films received state certificates for distribution and screening at Ukrainian cinemas. Overall, 302 films received these certificates in 2017.

So, in 2017 Russian film “Matilda” was banned in Ukraine, because a musician on Ukraine’s black list performed in it.

In February 2015, the law “On protection of information television and radio space” prohibited the screening of films in Ukraine that, according to Kiev, contain “Russian propaganda.”

On April 21, 2016, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko signed a law prohibiting the screening of Russian films produced after January 1, 2014, “to enhance the level of protection of Ukraine’s national security in the information sphere.” More than 600 Russian films are currently banned in Ukraine.

Source : TASS

KHDA scores a diplomatic Kabaddi win

Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg

Dhanusha Gokulan (Reporter )/Dubai
dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com Filed on February 9, 2018
The game triggers presence of mind, team management, physical strength and understanding opponent’s strategy.

The popular contact sport, played with minimum equipment, got its first-ever league match in Dubai

‘Kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi.’, chanted team members of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) just before scoring the final winning point against the team from the Consulate-General of India. The jubilant eight-team member team from the KHDA reacted to their victory by lifting Director-General of the authority Dr Abdulla Al Karam into the air and cheering loudly.

The popular contact sport, played with minimum equipment, got its first-ever league match in Dubai as the Indian High School (IHS), in collaboration with the KHDA and the Indian Consulate, launched the ‘Kabaddi League’. The two-day league finals took place at the Indian High School, Oud Metha, on Friday, to celebrate Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UAE.

While the first half of the games were played by students, teachers, parents, and support staff from various schools, the final segment of the games witnessed a friendly match between the CGI and KHDA. The two teams were the star attraction for the evening as senior officials and support staff members of the KHDA, led by Dr Karam, played against officers and consuls of the Consulate-General of India, led by Consul-General Vipul.

Speaking to Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the event, Dr Karam said: “I felt a real connection with the game after I played it for the first time at the Dubai 30×30 Challenge. The IHS and the CGI have done a great job by launching the league, and the timing is perfect as in coincides with the coming of honourable Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”

He added: “It’s a fantastic sport, and we’re looking at making the sport a part of the education system. It is great for the health of the students as well. Also, I really enjoyed playing against the officers of the CGI. Better luck to them next time.”

The education authority’s superior defence tactics helped the team gain edge over players from the consulate in the second-half of the game.

Consul-General Vipul said: “With the spirit of celebration for India completing 70 years of its independence, this tournament pays homage by bringing an Indian rural game to the international forefront. We first started with bringing yoga to international attention, and now we want to look at making kabaddi the next big thing from India.”

A total of eight schools competed with their efficient and energetic teams for the Kabaddi Cup semifinals. Gems Modern Academy, the Millennium School, Delta English School and Crescent English High School are the names of the few participating teams. Students from the Millennium School Dubai took home the winner’s trophy.

There was also a round of entertaining matches between the parents’ team and IHS staff and Gems Modern Academy staff. Ashok Kumar, CEO of Indian High School, said: “The school plans to organise summer training camps in affiliation with the International Kabaddi Federation (IKF) and the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI). We will host these camps within its premises and will keep them open to all school students.”

What is Kabaddi?

Kabaddi is a combative sport and is believed to be akin to practising yoga, where players control their mind and body through self-control and concentration. The game triggers presence of mind, team management, physical strength and understanding opponent’s strategy.

The basic rules of Kabaddi are simple: Two teams of seven players each face off in a large square arena for two halves of 20 minutes each. Players from each team take turns running across the centre line to the other team’s half of the court, tagging members of the other team, and running back.



Source :  The Khaleej Times

Dubai-based Indian school to find job for Lankan track star

Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg

Suresh Pattali/Sharjah
Filed on February 10, 2018 | Last updated on February 10, 2018 at 12.53 pm

Lalith came to Dubai in 2002 to work as a bellboy with a hotel apartment.

Anger, anguish and offers of help poured in on Friday from Khaleej Times readers and members of the Sri Lankan community, including a former national champion, over the neglect of track star Lalith Prasanna Galappaththi who is now driving a cab in the UAE.

Unable to feed his family with his 20,000-rupee salary as a middle distance coach with the Sri Lankan Sports Ministry, Lalith came to Dubai in 2012 to work as a bellboy with a hotel apartment. He later took up the job of a taxi driver, putting in 15 hours a day.

“This is the story of lots of sportsmen in Sri Lanka. I won the national championship and I am now a store salesman,” Chathura Dilanga Dissanayake wrote on the Facebook group jobs4lankans, which has more than 23,000 members.

“Amazing story of a man who we have forgotten. I come from his town and I am ashamed to hear his plight. I would be happy to explore my contacts in the GCC to get him a deserving place,” Mohamed Zuhair, who is based in Bahrain, wrote in an email. ” I will look for him in my next trip to Dubai. Thank you for this golden opportunity,” said Zuhair.

” With tears in my eyes, I read your article about the Sri Lankan athlete. We thank Khaleej Times for the heart-warming article.

We have a broken system which is destroying the lives of talented individuals like Lalith,” wrote jobs4lankans admin Sanjeewa Marasinghe, a social worker who left Dubai last year after a 20-year stint.

“The article has created such a positive buzz, with so many individuals wanting to change the system, and at the same time help such individuals. Jobs4lankans plans to conduct a workshop on March 9 in Dubai and this is one of the topics we would be discussing,” he added.

“We need to speak with him and see his actual needs. Maybe he now wants to support fellow athletes whose future is also dark. If we can help few such athletes that would be a great achievement from your story.”

Many members of the group were seething with anger. “If our so-called leaders are not interested, at least let us try something. But do you see the irony? Our champ Lalith actually makes more money as a cabbie than what he got as a sportsman.

He needs it to educate his kids. This is an important factor we have to think of. Perhaps some kind of scholarship scheme for their children,” wrote forum member Farhaz Farouk.

“I always like to support ex-servicemen and sportsmen. They come with lots of great characteristics which “normal” education does not usually build up. Our athletes are our treasures. They have so much to give back to budding young sportsmen and women from their experience and skills. Unfortunately we are not able to benefit from that! Some sort of training institute sponsored by large corporates in Sri Lanka could be one idea. These institutes can employ our former athletes as trainers, coaches and mentors to up-and-coming stars,” Farouk suggested.

“I think he has moved beyond his shiny athletic days now. The thing is, how many more are in the pipeline – talented but no support or exposure?” Marasinghe wondered, adding: “Years back we managed to sponsor kids. Perhaps we can do it again. We will create a database of help needed and help offered. Then its a simple matter of connecting dots.”

The vice-principal of a Dubai-based Indian school offered to find Lalith the job of a physical education instructor. “With his credentials, we may be able to provide him with a decent job,” he wrote in an email.

“Most of the governments in the subcontinent are struggling with basic issues, so sports take a back seat except cricket. There is no proper policy in terms of helping/providing job security to these young people. Most of them work hard to bring laurels to their respective countries but sports administrators – most of them with no experience get all the benefits. This is 100% apathy from the respective governments,” he added.

Samir Geepee, founder and curator of Awesome Walkers for Corporate Conversations, said he plans to feature Lalith on his platform.

“As a society we aim to achieve high goals, but very often we forget to plan ‘what next’ after that goal is met. Our goals tend to be transitory and, therefore, our fame fades away too.

“Articles that remind us of forgotten heroes is a message to society to set goals and to reset them constantly, to be relentless in our pursuit towards excellence, considering the new challenges that life puts us through. Every story is one that could be ours too; and we can be better prepared on how we want ours to unfold,” he wrote.


Source :  The Khaleej Times

Army targets terrorist hotbeds in central and North Sinai

Flag of Egypt.svg

The armed forces targeted hotbeds and huts used by terrorists as bases to launch attacks against security forces in central and North Sinai on Friday, as part of a comprehensive operation in the region, armed forces spokesperson Tamer al-Refaei announced.

Naval forces tightened control on the sea in the governorate to cut maritime supply access for terrorists, in addition to tightening control at the border crossings and enhancing security at vital areas, he added.

Refaei announced earlier on Friday that the armed forces has initiated a comprehensive operation in Sinai on Friday, with the security alert level nationwide being raised to the maximum level.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm


Source :  Egypt Independent