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June 15, 2007

Thaksin\’s speech played for demonstrators, ex-Thai PM calls for elections

Thaksin’s speech played for demonstrators, ex-Thai PM calls for elections

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Thailand
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Ousted Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

A videotaped address by Thaksin Shinawatra was played for a crowd of around 15,000 supporters today in Bangkok, with the ousted former prime minister calling for the military-installed government of Thailand to hold elections later this year as promised.

“Please speed up the new elections and turn the country back to democracy,” Thaksin said in his message, taped in London, where he has been living in exile since being ousted in a coup last year. “It is time for reconciliation and to move forward with elections. That is the best solution for the country.”

“Let the people decide for themselves who should be voted into office and run the country,” he said.

Interim Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont has said the elections would likely be held in December, after a constitutional referendum, which might occur in August or September.

Thaksin’s address began at around 9 p.m. local time (1400 GMT), and was shown on six screens at the Sanam Luang protest-staging ground. Organizers of the demonstration, the pro-Thaksin satellite television station PTV, also known as the Democratic Alliance against Dictatorship, said they had hoped for a live broadcast via Internet, but switched to a pre-recorded message because they feared the transmission would be blocked by the military-run government. The government had earlier said they would allow Thaksin to make a live address, but only if he would say nothing provocative, and that they would monitor the transmission.

The live-broadcast service of the PTV website could not be accessed before or during the speech, The Nation newspaper reported. Access to several pro-Thaksin websites was blocked by the ministry.

Thaksin railed against the government for its seizure of his bank accounts in Thailand, calling the move “unfair.”

“I wouldn’t mind if it was just me they were persecuting, but my wife and children have also become victims, which I didn’t expect to happen,” Thaksin said.

“The government seized my assets because they want to discredit me and to prevent Thai Rak Thai from winning in new elections. That’s not democracy,” he said, referring to the political party he once led, which was ordered dissolved by a Constitutional Tribunal over elections violations. “I haven’t done anything wrong,” he said. “I repeat that I have already given up politics,” he added.

He in struggle for power boasted he would return to Thailand “to protect my reputation,” though he did not specify exactly when he would return. “I will fight to get my dignity back, and to restore the credibility of Thailand’s legal system,” he said. “I will fight within the rule of law.”

In spite of the fact that Mr Abhisit, the Democrat party leader in Thailand, said the content of the pre-recorded message played to demonstrators at Sanam Luang was nothing short of expectations. He said Mr Thaksin should not blame anyone but himself that his wife and children were facing graft investigations.

“His wife and children find themselves in this situation all because of Mr Thaksin’s decisions,” he said. “He threw the problems at them by transferring shares to them and it is not clear that he gave up management of those assets.”

Deputy Democrat leader Wittaya Kaewparadai said the video address reflected Mr Thaksin’s obsession with his own personal interests. He did not show strong reactions when he was toppled by the coup makers but rose to “defend his dignity” when his assets were frozen, he said.

Mr Wittaya said he believed Mr Thaksin’s address was meant to rouse his supporters and instigate violence

However Mr Thaksin still asked that all Thais unite to mark the 80th birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Thailand’s monarch who has reigned for 60 years.

Thaksin claimed that the coup and the military government have hurt Thailand’s economy. The coup “rendered a lack of confidence on the part of the world community in this country’s political and economic developments.” He said the poor and the business sector would continue to suffer until democracy was restored.

Police estimated that 8,000 people were present at the Sanam Luang rally venue, while organisers of the rally put the numbers closer to 50,000. There was a heavy presence of police as well as military personnel and their vehicles, and some roads were blocked to traffic. There was no report of any untoward incident or violence at the rally venue.

Demonstrations organized by the Democratic Alliance against Dictatorship have grown in the past two weeks, and a large demonstration and march from Sanam Luang to Royal Thai Army headquarters is expected tomorrow.

The government has said it will deploy 13,000 soldiers for the event, though Premier Surayud said the protests would be allowed, but warned that emergency law would be enforced if things turn violent.

Related news

  • “Wikinews Shorts: June 13, 2007#Billion of baht missing from Thaksin accounts, Thai officials say” — Wikinews, June 13, 2007
  • “Ex-Thai PM Thaksin’s assets are frozen” — Wikinews, June 11, 2007
  • “Anti-junta demonstrations grow in Bangkok” — Wikinews, June 11, 2007

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Seven soldiers killed in southern Thailand ambush

Seven soldiers killed in southern Thailand ambush

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Friday, June 15, 2007

South Thailand insurgency
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The involved provinces and surrounding area of Thailand and Malaysia The involved provinces and surrounding area of Thailand and Malaysia

Wikipedia has articles on
  • Thailand
  • South Thailand insurgency
  • 2005 Songkhla bombings
  • Patani United Liberation Organization

and the involved provinces,

  • Pattani
  • Narathiwat
  • Yala
  • Songkhla
See also

A roadside bombing and ambush attack today in southern Thailand killed seven Royal Thai Army soldiers and left one injured.

Blamed on Muslim insurgents, the attack in Bannang Sata district, Yala, was similar to one on May 31, in which 12 soldiers were killed in one of the deadliest days of the south Thailand insurgency.

Today’s attackers took M16 rifles belonging to the dead soldiers. As they retreated, they laid spikes on the roads to stall any pursuers. A helicopter was dispatched to airlift the victims.

The soldiers were part of a unit assigned to protect public school teachers, who are frequent targets of attack. Earlier in the week, four teachers were killed by gunmen and 13 schools burned in arson attacks.

Human Rights Watch issued a report today, saying it believed those responsible for the attacks are separatists.

“Insurgents are terrorizing teachers and schools, which they consider symbols of the Thai state,” Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement, quoted in the Bangkok Post. “These attacks are grave crimes and cannot be justified by any cause.”

In another attack overnight, three local Muslim leaders were killed and a fourth man in an ambush and shooting attack on their car in Mai Kaen district, Pattani.

Related news

  • “Wikinews Shorts: June 14, 2007#14 injured in bombing at soccer match in southern Thailand” — Wikinews, June 14, 2007
  • “13 schools torched in southern Thailand” — Wikinews, June 14, 2007
  • “21 dead in south Thailand attacks” — Wikinews, June 1, 2007

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Panama: Eleven years of a conflict between PPC and ex-workers of Port Authority

Panama: Eleven years of a conflict between PPC and ex-workers of Port Authority

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Eleven years ago the Panama Ports Company (PPC) got a concession to manage Panamanian Ports at the gates of the Panama Canal — Balboa and Cristobal. They made a contract with Panamanian State to get this concession. This concession began a conflict between ex-workers of these Ports (previously managed by Panamanian State by Port Authority) and PPC.

Francisco Sanchez

These Port Authority’s ex-workers says PPC violated a law written in 1992. The law states that during any privatization of State property, including land and enterprises, the workers must be offered to buy shares of the land or company. The contract doesn’t state any offer of shares to the ex-workers.

Representatives of ex-workers claim that they must receive a pay, because the shares were not offered to them.

On the last 3 years, Jose Sanchez (pictured) has set some meetings with PPC representatives. Almost all meeting were suspended because PPC representatives have not attended them.

It may seem that no one in Panama outside the engaged parties knows about the dispute. According to Mr. Sanchez there is a mass media campaign to hide events of this conflict.

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North Korean funds released

North Korean funds released – Wikinews, the free news source

North Korean funds released

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Friday, June 15, 2007

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has received US$25,000,000 frozen in 2005 as part of the general crackdown on the communist state.

The funds had been frozen in a Macau bank after the United States earlier alleged that the money was gained from activities including money laundering and counterfeiting.

The DPRK had demanded return of the money as a precondition to engaging in the six-party talks. In February, the U.S. agreed to allow North Korea to retrieve their funds.

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Khamenei: US and Israeli intel services responsible for Iraqi shrine bombing

Khamenei: US and Israeli intel services responsible for Iraqi shrine bombing

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s highest-ranking religious and political leader, blamed the intelligence services of the United States and Israel for the bombing of the Askari Mosque in Samarra, Iraq. According to him,

The perpetrators of this huge crime, whether they be the remnants of the Saddamist Baath regime or the reactionary elements of Salafist and Wahhabist groups…there is no doubt that the spy agencies of the occupiers and the Zionists were the brains behind the evil plot.

On 13th of June 2007, Iraqi insurgents blew up the two minerets of the Askari Mosque. The shrine is important because it contains the remains of the Imam Hadi and Imam Askari. The son of Imam Askari is Imam Mahdi. This is especially important in the context of Iran’s politics; according to Article 5 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Khamenei as an Islamic jurist is supposed to lead the “Ummah”. Some Muslims object to this. For instance, one Islamic cleric has said that Khamenei “does not have a divine authority or right to determine the fate of other peoples and countries,” referring to Muslims outside Iran.

Khamenei urged Sunni scholars to speak out against the sacrilege and Shia Muslims to remain calm. He believes that this bombing of part of a conspiracy to fuel sectarian tensions.

Earlier, Sheikh Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah in Lebanon also made the same charge and said, “Without doubt, the occupiers are providing the grounds for Salafi Takfiri groups and intelligence agencies to pillage the country.”

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Air Independence and Libyan Airlines place orders for Bombardier aircraft valued at $190 million

Air Independence and Libyan Airlines place orders for Bombardier aircraft valued at $190 million

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Friday, June 15, 2007

A Bombardier Challenger 604 owned by the Danish military.
Image: SCDBob.

Canadian vehicle and equipment manufacturers Bombardier announced on Thursday that Air Independence and Libyan Airlines have placed orders for new aircraft valued at a total US$190 million, excluding any optional extras at customer specification.

Air Independence, a European business aviation services company that already operates two Challenger 604 jets and one Challenger 800, have ordered 3 widebody Challenger 605 business jets, with a total value of US$82 million. In a separate order, Libyan Airlines have ordered 3 Bombardier CRJ900 regional jets with a value of approximately US$108 million. Air Independence’s aircraft will be delivered between October 2009 and February 2010 and will be based in Munich.

Managing director of Air Independence Andrian Feuchter said “Our customers love our current Challenger business jet fleet. Spacious, ultra silent cabins, transcontinental range, versatility and overall travel comfort make this family of aircraft perfect for European charter operation. We expect this satisfaction level will climb even higher once the Challenger 605 jets join the fleet. The cabin feels even more spacious and brighter and the aircraft’s impressive new technology features will undoubtedly contribute towards even greater passenger comfort and productivity.”

The deal with Libyan Airlines had already been announced on June 6, but the purchaser had not been disclosed at the time. Libyan Airlines currently operate aircraft in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Libyan Airlines chairman Eng. Tarek Arebi said “This purchase represents the launching of our fleet renewal program. The CRJ900 aircraft was selected because we believe it is the type of regional jet that can meet the requirement of domestic and regional routes on our network.”

In other Bombardier related aviation news, the company has announced that they will display five planes, including the new 76-passenger Bombardier CRJ900 NextGen, at the upcoming Paris Air Show, which will run from June 18 to June 24. The other aircraft will be the Q400 turboprop, and business jets Learjet 45 XR, Challenger 605 and Global 5000.

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Questions arise about health of North Korean dictator

Questions arise about health of North Korean dictator

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Pyongyang watchers agree that Kim Jong-Il The Chairman of the Defense Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and defacto dictator, is having health trouble. Due to the secrecy of the North Korean regime only small bits of information are available. Kim is reported to have difficulty walking unassisted and is reported to be frail. Due to these symptoms, Kim’s obvious obesity, and the fact that a team of German cardiologists has been dispatched to Pyongyang; It is believed Kim is suffering from congestive heart failure. Kim’s father Kim Il-Sung died of heart failure in 1994.

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Gay marriage amendment to stay off 2008 ballot in Massachusetts, USA

Gay marriage amendment to stay off 2008 ballot in Massachusetts, USA

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Friday, June 15, 2007

The State House of Massachusetts in downtown Boston

Lawmakers in Massachusetts, located in the United States, have thrown out an amendment that would allow voters to vote for same-sex marriage, or against it in the 2008 general elections.

“Today’s vote is not just a victory for marriage equality. It was a victory for equality itself,” said Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick who voted against the amendment.

President of the Massachusetts Family Institute Kristian Mineau, called the decision “disappointing.”

Fifty votes were needed to pass the amendment. Two hundred lawmakers sit on the state’s session and in January voted for the amendment with 62 votes. In the recent session on Thursday, the amendment only received 45 support votes with 141 opposing the amendment, killing the measure until at least 2010. It would then require opponents of gay marriage to start from scratch, writing new petitions to the lawmakers, and then gaining the support of at least 50 of them, in at least two separate sessions.

Same-sex marriages became legal in Massachusetts in 2004 after the Mass. Supreme Judicial Court ruled in 2003 the ban on gay marriage to be “unconstitutional,” and since then nearly 9,000 couples have gotten married there.

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