Tuesday, November 24, 2020

"Rung" Thai: Royalists Chopped Her Hair & Dyed It Black

(Staff articles from the ABC NEWS on 22 November 2020.)

Panusaya Sithijirawattankul, known as "Rung", has become the face of Thailand's youth protest movement. With tens of thousands of protesters cheering her on, Panusaya Sithijirawattankul stepped on to a stage near Bangkok's ceremonial Grand Palace and confidently did what most Thais would not dare to do. She spoke out against the country's monarchy.

The 21-year-old university student, who is known by her nickname "Rung", has become one of the faces of Thailand's growing student-led protest movement. In front of a big screen projecting her image to the crowd, the third-year sociology student addressed the biggest anti-establishment rally since the 2014 coup which saw military General Prayuth Chan-ocha seize power.

"[We have] the same ideology, the same intention, the same goals: to end the Prayuth regime and to reform the monarchy, isn't that right?" she said to loud cheers and applause. Rung says she is not trying to topple the monarchy, but believes it should be reformed.

Monday, November 23, 2020

China Can't Stop Buying Aussie Iron Ore

(Huileng Tan's article from the CNBC on 11 June 2020.)

China may punish Australia with trade curbs — but it can’t stop buying iron ore from Down Under: Relations between China and Australia have been on a downward spiral in recent months, triggered by Canberra’s call for an international probe into the origins of the coronavirus, which was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

In what is seen as retaliation against Australia’s stance, Beijing suspended some beef imports, slapped hefty tariffs on barley and is reportedly considering more actions on products from wine to fruits.

On Thursday, Australia’s prime minister said he would not be intimidated by “coercion” after the moves from Beijing. “We are an open-trading nation, mate, but I’m never going to trade our values in response to coercion from wherever it comes,” Scott Morrison told local media on Thursday, according to a Reuters report.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

ASSK's NLD Wins Burma's 2020 General Election

(Mazoe Ford's article from the ABC NEWS on 13 November 2020.)

Aung San Suu Kyi's party wins enough seats to form Myanmar's next government: The ruling party of Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has won enough parliamentary seats to form the next government, according to official general election results.

The latest batch of results from Sunday's vote, local time, confirmed Ms Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) had secured the 322 seats in the bicameral legislature needed to form a government. The NLD has taken 368 seats of the 434 seats that have been declared, with results from 42 more yet to be announced.

NLD spokesman Monywa Aung Shin said the "landslide" win showed that the people still had faith in Ms Suu Kyi's leadership. "However, we have to work on forming a national unity government," Mr Aung Shin said, noting how the NLD had invited 39 ethnic minority parties to work with it.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

OPPO: The Fastest-growing Smartphone Brand

(Matt Hamblem's  article from the COMPUTER WORLD on 30 July 2016.)

Meet OPPO, the fastest-growing smartphone brand in the world: Apple has its eye on OPPO and other low-cost Asian smartphone makers. The fastest-growing smartphone maker globally — by far — is a little-known electronics company based in China called OPPO.

OPPO grew by 137% in the second quarter of 2016, compared to a year ago, according to market research firm IDC. The company finished fourth overall, behind Samsung, Apple and Huawei, in that order. OPPO shipped 22.6 million smartphones in the second quarter and grabbed 6.6% of the market, well behind the 77 million shipped by Samsung and the 40.4 million from Apple, according to IDC.

With its fantastic pace of growth, OPPO is expected to continue to put pressure on high-end phone makers like Apple and Samsung. That's because OPPO's smartphones have attractive, high-end features at lower cost.

OPPO doesn't sell directly in the U.S., but its newest F1 Plus, a stylish Android 5.1 (Lollipop) phone with a 5.5-in. display, can be purchased online starting at $434. (With a SIM card inserted, it could be made to work on T-Mobile and AT&T, IDC said.) The F1 Plus is the equivalent of the R9 smartphone launched in Beijing in March.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

China Punishes Australia by Halting Key Imports

(Staff article from the BLOOMBERG NEWS on 03 November 2020.)

(Bloomberg) China to Halt Key Australian Imports in Sweeping Retaliation -- China has ordered traders to stop purchasing at least seven categories of Australian commodities, ratcheting up tensions with a key trading partner in its most sweeping retaliation yet.

Commodities traders in China won’t be able to import products including coal, barley, copper ore and concentrate, sugar, timber, wine and lobster, according to people familiar with the situation. The government has ordered the halt to begin on Friday, one of the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is sensitive.

The notice was verbally relayed to major traders in meetings in recent weeks, one of the people said. Iron ore, Australia’s biggest export to China, won’t be included in the halt, the people said. The order represents a dramatic deterioration in ties, which have been strained since Australia barred Huawei Technologies Co. from building its 5G network in 2018 on national security grounds.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Why I Hope To Die At 75: Ezekiel Emanuel

(Ezekiel Emanuel's article from the ATLANTIC, October 2014 issue.)

Seventy-five. That’s how long I want to live: 75 years. This preference drives my daughters crazy. It drives my brothers crazy. My loving friends think I am crazy. They think that I can’t mean what I say; that I haven’t thought clearly about this, because there is so much in the world to see and do.

To convince me of my errors, they enumerate the myriad people I know who are over 75 and doing quite well. They are certain that as I get closer to 75, I will push the desired age back to 80, then 85, maybe even 90. I am sure of my position. Doubtless, death is a loss. It deprives us of experiences and milestones, of time spent with our spouse and children. In short, it deprives us of all the things we value.

But here is a simple truth that many of us seem to resist: living too long is also a loss. It renders many of us, if not disabled, then faltering and declining, a state that may not be worse than death but is nonetheless deprived. It robs us of our creativity and ability to contribute to work, society, the world. It transforms how people experience us, relate to us, and, most important, remember us. We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Lese-majeste: How Thailand Forbids Insult Of Royals

(Staff articles from the BBC NEWS in October 2017.)

Lese-majeste explained: How Thailand forbids insult of its royalty. Thailand's lese-majeste law, which forbids the insult of the monarchy, is among the strictest in the world. It has been increasingly enforced ever since the Thai military took power in 2014 in a coup, and many people have been punished with harsh jail sentences.

Critics say the military-backed government uses the law to clamp down on free speech, and the United Nations has repeatedly called on Thailand to amend it. But the government says the law is necessary to protect the monarchy, which is widely revered in Thailand.

What exactly is this law? Article 112 of Thailand's criminal code says anyone who "defames, insults or threatens the king, the queen, the heir-apparent or the regent" will be punished with a jail term between three and 15 years. This law has remained virtually unchanged since the creation of the country's first criminal code in 1908, although the penalty was toughened in 1976.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Anti-Monarchy Protests In Bangkok, Thailand

(Staff article from the ABC NEWS Australia on 16 October 2020.)

Bangkok anti-government protests see riot police use water cannon and shields: Electric blue water with tear gas shot from a water cannon flies over demonstrators during a Bangkok protest. The UN has voiced concern over Thai authorities' harsh response to pro-democracy protests.

Thai police used water cannons and pushed forward with riot shields and batons in an attempt to disperse thousands of protesters who defied a ban on demonstrations for a second day. The protesters had gathered in monsoonal rains to push their core demands, including that Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha leave office, the constitution be amended and the nation's monarchy undergo reform.

Protesters pushed back, some using umbrellas, while a few threw plastic bottles at police in full riot gear. "The dictatorial government is using violence to disperse the people's movement," said Tattep Ruangprapaikitseree, one of the protest leaders.

Smoking-gun Email Reveals Biden Family Corruption

(Emma-Jo Morris's article from The NEW YORK POST on 14 October 2020.)

Smoking-gun email reveals how Hunter Biden introduced Ukrainian businessman to VP dad: Hunter Biden introduced his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, to a top executive at a Ukrainian energy firm less than a year before the elder Biden pressured government officials in Ukraine into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company, according to emails obtained by The Post.

The never-before-revealed meeting is mentioned in a message of appreciation that Vadym Pozharskyi, an adviser to the board of Burisma, allegedly sent Hunter Biden on April 17, 2015, about a year after Hunter joined the Burisma board at a reported salary of up to $50,000 a month.

“Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together. It’s realty [sic] an honor and pleasure,” the email reads. An earlier email from May 2014 also shows Pozharskyi, reportedly Burisma’s No. 3 exec, asking Hunter for “advice on how you could use your influence” on the company’s behalf.