Rohingya Repatriation: Myanmar wants to resume talks #SootinClaimon.Com

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Rohingya Repatriation: Myanmar wants to resume talks

NationalOct 24. 2020

By The Daily Star/ANN

Beijing on Thursday informed Dhaka about Myanmar’s assurances of taking back the Rohingyas.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in a phone call told his Bangladesh counterpart AK Abdul Momen that Myanmar was willing to start afresh the discussions on Rohingya repatriation after its national elections on November 8.

He made the phone call while the international community was pledging funds to provide humanitarian assistance to the Rohingyas, at a virtual conference of donors.

“Myanmar informed China that it is working to take back the Rohingyas when the Covid-19 situation improves,” said a foreign ministry statement yesterday.

Wang Yi also proposed an ambassador-level meeting and a trilateral senior official-level meeting among China, Bangladesh and Myanmar. He said the trilateral meeting could be held in Dhaka at the earliest.

Earlier on October 11, Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming expressed frustration over the fact that the repatriation has not begun in over three years since some 750,000 Rohingyas fled a brutal military crackdown in Rakhine State in 2017 and came to Bangladesh.

Dhaka has been vocal in stating that the Rohingya crisis could destabilise the region and deter foreign investors and made it clear that Bangladesh could not bear the burden of the nearly a million Rohingyas any longer.

The UN Security Council has not taken any concrete measure against Myanmar due to opposition by China and Russia.

China, a close ally of Myanmar, has been trying to facilitate a bilateral solution to the crisis.

As the US-China relations hit rock bottom, the US is boosting its relations with the Indo-Pacific countries. A US diplomat recently said the country would work with urgency to address the humanitarian needs of the Rohingyas and to find a lasting resolution.

Following a recent visit to Delhi and Dhaka, US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun said China had done very little to help resolve the Rohingya issue.

At the donor’s conference, co-hosted by the US, UK, EU and UN Refugee Agency, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the UN Security Council’s five permanent member states had special obligations in ending the violence in Myanmar.

He said the US will continue to advocate for a sustainable solution that creates the conditions for the voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable return of Rohingya refugees and other displaced persons to their places of origin or to a place of their choice.

The co-hosts in a joint statement said Myanmar should provide a pathway to citizenship and freedom of movement for the Rohingyas.

Myanmar must provide justice for the victims of human rights abuse, they said.

Wang Yi also assured Momen of providing the Chinese vaccine for Covid-19 to Bangladesh on a priority basis and expressed his interest in working with Bangladesh in the post-pandemic economic recovery.

The Chinese-funded projects in Bangladesh will pick up pace after the pandemic, he said.

THE GAMBIA FILES MEMORIAL

The Gambia yesterday filed a more than 500-page memorial in its lawsuit against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice, showing how Myanmar government is responsible for genocide against the Rohingyas.

The memorial includes over 5,000 pages of supporting materials substantiating the case. The Gambia opened a case at the ICJ, also known as the World Court, in November last year against Myanmar for failing to prevent genocide against Rohingyas.

After a preliminary hearing, the Court issued an order asking Myanmar to take provisional measures to prevent further acts of genocide in Rakhine.

After the Gambia’s initial filing, the ICJ found there were substances in their claims. Based on that, it agreed to go further with the case. That’s why the Gambia has filed the memorial.

“This is a significant step towards Rohingya justice. However, success of the case will depend on how strong the evidence included in the memorial is,” said Prof Mizanur Rahman, an expert on international law.

Following the filing by The Gambia, Myanmar has three months to file a counter-memorial at the ICJ. The Memorial and Counter-Memorial will not be made public for the duration of the trial, which is expected to last several years, said regional rights body Fortify Rights in a statement.

“It is another step towards justice for Rohingya,” said Matthew Smith, chief executive officer at Fortify Rights.

International accountability mechanisms, like the ICJ, are crucial, especially given that mass atrocity crimes continue against Rohingya and others in Myanmar, he added.

Myanmar should immediately comply with the ICJ orders to prevent ongoing acts of genocide and preserve evidence of genocide against Rohingya Muslims, said Fortify Rights.

Unemployed Udon Thani man found dead in friend’s rented room #SootinClaimon.Com

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Unemployed Udon Thani man found dead in friend’s rented room

NationalOct 24. 2020

By THE NATION

A 29-year-old man was found dead in an apartment in Udon Thani province.

Muang Udon Thani Police Station was alerted at 3pm on Friday about the death in an apartment in Mak Khaeng subdistrict of Muang district.

Police found the body of Wanlop Sriudom, a local of Udon Thani, lying on the bed wearing only white shorts. Forensic staff reportedly found no injuries or signs of violence, and estimated that he had been dead for 1-2 hours.

The room where the body was found is rented by Suphasit (last name withheld), who is Wanlop’s friend and is the one who found the body. He reportedly told officials that Wanlop was unemployed and had been living with him lately. “I went out for work this morning and came back in the afternoon to find that he was already dead,” said Suphasit. “I suspect he was electrocuted while trying to cook with an electric pan.”

The pan was on a wooden stool not far from where the body was found.

The body was sent to hospital for detailed autopsy while officials reportedly have not ruled electrocution out as the cause of death, though there was no sign of electric shock on the body. Police have contacted the victim’s relatives for questioning and will also check his medical records to determine the cause of death.

Upper Thailand gets cooler, isolated heavy rain in the South #SootinClaimon.Com

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Upper Thailand gets cooler, isolated heavy rain in the South

NationalOct 24. 2020

By THE NATION

The Thailand Meteorological Department forecast on Saturday that a high pressure area from China extends to cover the Central and the East, bringing the temperature in upper Thailand down by 1-3 degrees Celsius with strong winds.

Meanwhile, a monsoon trough lies across the middle South and the moderate southwest monsoon prevails across the Andaman Sea, the lower South and the lower Gulf of Thailand, the department said.

Isolated heavy rains are likely in the South.

The category-5 typhoon “Saudel” over the middle South China Sea is expected to make landfall over the coast of upper Vietnam on October 25-26 before declining rapidly, the department said.

Isolated rains with strong winds are likely over the eastern and the lower portion of the Northeast during that period.

The weather forecast for the next 24 hours:

North: Cool weather with strong winds and thundershowers in 10 per cent of the areas; minimum temperature 20-24 degrees Celsius, maximum 30-33°C. Temperature on hilltops is likely to drop to 10-15°C.

Northeast: Cool weather with strong winds; minimum temperature 16-20°C, maximum 30-31°C, temperature on hilltops is likely to drop to 12-15°C.

Central: Mostly cloudy; minimum temperature 22-24°C, maximum 31-33°C.

East: Mostly cloudy; minimum temperature 22-25°C, maximum 30-33°C; waves a metre high and 1-2 metres off shore.

South (east coast): Mostly cloudy with thundershowers in 60 per cent of the areas and isolated heavy rain; minimum temperature 23-25°C, maximum 31-32°C; waves 1-2 metres high and over two metres during thundershowers.

South (west coast): Mostly cloudy with thundershowers in 60 per cent of the areas and isolated heavy rain; minimum temperature 23-25°C, maximum 30-32°C; waves 1-2 metres high and two metres during thundershowers.

Bangkok and surrounding areas: Mostly cloudy; minimum temperature 23-25°C, maximum 31-33°C.

Biden wants to raise federal minimum wage. Trump doesn’t. A look at their debate disagreement. #SootinClaimon.Com

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Biden wants to raise federal minimum wage. Trump doesn’t. A look at their debate disagreement.

NationalOct 24. 2020Biden/File photoBiden/File photo 

By The Washington Post · Eli Rosenberg · NATIONAL, BUSINESS, POLITICS, WHITEHOUSE 

President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden presented opposing views on raising the minimum wage at the final presidential debate on Thursday.

Biden said he still supported the implementation of a $15 federal minimum wage, even as many small businesses are struggling during the pandemic. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25.

Trump said the issue should be decided by the states.

“He said we have to help our small businesses by raising the minimum wage – that’s not helping,” Trump said of Biden. “I think it should be a state option. Alabama is different than New York. New York is different from Vermont. Every state is different.”

When pressed by the moderator, Trump said that he would consider raising the federal minimum wage if granted a second term, though he did not give specifics.

Biden responded with a defense of the minimum wage, which is a part of his platform for strengthening the hand of workers.

“No one should work one job, be below poverty,” he said. “People are making six, seven, eight bucks an hour. These first responders we all clap for as they come down the street because they’ve allowed us to make it. What’s happening? They deserve a minimum wage of $15. Anything below that puts you below the poverty level.”

Trump’s criticism for raising the federal minimum wage is the culmination of years of waffling on the issue.

As a candidate in 2015 and 2016, Trump said in interviews he was open to raising the federal minimum wage. Other times he said he did not support an increase. Trump and his campaign officials eventually said that he supported raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour.

Last year, he told Spanish-language broadcaster Telemundo that he was “looking at” raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

But his answer Thursday marked a departure from some of the populist rhetoric that had helped power his campaign in 2016, political analysts noted.

Public opinion surveys have found broad support among Americans for raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, which works out to about $31,200 a year before taxes – an amount that still puts some below the living wage in many parts of the country, economists say.

Sylvia A. Allegretto, a labor economist at the University of California, Berkeley who has studied the issue of minimum wage for years, said that the pandemic and the discussion about economic relief for businesses and workers should be understood more as an opportunity to address an issue like minimum wage than an impediment. Labor costs were not the reason why so many businesses are struggling at the moment, she noted. 

“They want to say times are bad and we shouldn’t do it now, but they weren’t clamoring to change this in 2018 or 2019 after ten years of great expansion,” she said, of Republicans. “You could use the tax code, you could use economic relief that could be spent on businesses to help them pay their workers now. You could imagine merging these two issues so we come out of this with a fair more balanced economy with more workers not at poverty level wages.”

Biden’s support of a $15-an-hour minimum wage represents a shift for Democrats. In 2016, Hillary Clinton supported raising the federal minimum to $12, but not $15.

Economists and academics have debated for years about whether raising the minimum wage results in job losses from businesses that would have to cut positions or hours, to make up for the increased cost of labor, in response.

“How are you helping your small businesses when you’re forcing wages?” Trump said at the debate. “What’s going to happen, and what’s been proven to happen, is when you do that, these small businesses fire many of their employees.”

Last year, the House passed a bill that would gradually raise the federal minimum wage to $15, but it has languished in the Republican-controlled Senate.

The Congressional Budget Office found that the bill offered mixed results, noting that 1.3 million people would be lifted out of poverty by 2025 and that the provisions could boost wages for some 27 million workers. But the analysis also found that the bill could also result in the loss of 1.3 million jobs.

Many studies have shown that increasing the minimum wage does not lead to significant job loss, while others still have come up with opposite results.

A 2017 study in Seattle, which leads the way with a gradual $15 minimum wage increase that the city passed in 2014, found that average pay declined as employers cut hours after the wages began rising.

But the same group of researchers released another study, the following year, which found that more experienced workers who started out working more hours, ended up earning on average $251 more per quarter. A less-experienced group of workers, who were working fewer hours when the study began, saw little to no change in income from the law.

A broader study in 2018 from Allegretto and two other scholars from the University of California at Berkeley looked at the effect of minimum wage increases on food service workers in six large cities – Seattle, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Chicago and Washington, D.C. – and found that the policies had increased pay for workers and resulted in no significant job loss.

And an analysis in 2019 of more than 130 minimum-wage increases passed since 1979 found that the fall in jobs paying less than the new minimum wage had been offset by the jump in new jobs paying just over it.

Betsey Stevenson, an economist at the University of Michigan and former member of the Council of Economic Advisers from 2013 to 2015, said she agreed that looking at a minimum wage proposal along with targeted relief for struggling small businesses was wise. Lower wage workers, many struggling with higher levels of unemployment and job insecurity due to the pandemic should not have to bear the cost of the pandemic by waiting for more equitable wages, she said. 

“The federal minimum wage is currently set way too low,” she said. “We really don’t want workers to be bearing the increases of those costs. As a society we should be sharing that.”

Pai Dao Din released on bail after appeal #SootinClaimon.Com

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Pai Dao Din released on bail after appeal

NationalOct 23. 2020Pro-democracy activist Jatupat “Pai Dao Din” Boonpatararaksa walks out of the Bangkok Remand Prison after the Appeal Court grants him bail on Friday.Pro-democracy activist Jatupat “Pai Dao Din” Boonpatararaksa walks out of the Bangkok Remand Prison after the Appeal Court grants him bail on Friday. 

By THE NATION

Pro-democracy activist Jatupat “Pai Dao Din” Boonpatararaksa was granted bail by the Court of Appeal on Friday, after the Criminal Court twice denied requests for his temporary release.

Pro-democracy activist Jatupat “Pai Dao Din” Boonpatararaksa walks out of the Bangkok Remand Prison after the Appeal Court grants him bail on Friday.

Pro-democracy activist Jatupat “Pai Dao Din” Boonpatararaksa walks out of the Bangkok Remand Prison after the Appeal Court grants him bail on Friday.

The Appeal Court explained it granted bail since the activist was unlikely to abscond or influence evidence related to his cases. Bail was set at Bt140,000.

Jatupat was arrested on October 13 along with 19 others while participating in a rally at Democracy Monument. He faces 12 charges, including sedition and organising a public assembly without authorisation.

Meanwhile, pro-democracy demonstrators gathered outside Bangkok Remand Prison on Friday evening to demand the release of seven other protest leaders who remain in custody. Move Forward Party MPs will appeal to the court for bail again tomorrow.

Pro-democracy activist Jatupat “Pai Dao Din” Boonpatararaksa walks out of the Bangkok Remand Prison after the Appeal Court grants him bail on Friday.

Pro-democracy activist Jatupat “Pai Dao Din” Boonpatararaksa walks out of the Bangkok Remand Prison after the Appeal Court grants him bail on Friday.—

Pro-democracy activist Jatupat “Pai Dao Din” Boonpatararaksa walks out of the Bangkok Remand Prison after the Appeal Court grants him bail on Friday.

Pro-democracy activist Jatupat “Pai Dao Din” Boonpatararaksa walks out of the Bangkok Remand Prison after the Appeal Court grants him bail on Friday.

French tourist develops Covid-19 symptoms after completing mandatory quarantine #SootinClaimon.Com

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French tourist develops Covid-19 symptoms after completing mandatory quarantine

NationalOct 23. 2020

By The Nation

A 57-year-old French tourist, who is visiting Koh Samui with her husband and son, has tested positive for Covid-19, the Public Health Ministry announced on Friday.

The family had taken Thai Airways flight TG933 from the French city of Limoges and landed in Thailand on September 30, Division of Communicable Diseases director Sophon Iamsirithavorn said.

They then completed the 14-day mandatory quarantine in an alternative state quarantine site in Samut Prakan and left for Samui on October 15. The family had tested negative in two tests on October 3 and 11, and had visited the French embassy before taking Bangkok Airways PG167 to Koh Samui.

On October 17, the woman reportedly developed a fever but managed to go shopping at Big C supermarket and a 7-Eleven convenience store near their accommodation.

Then on October 20, she went to Bangkok Hospital Samui in a private car and was admitted for one night. The hospital then sent her samples for further tests at Koh Samui Hospital.

However, Koh Samui Hospital came up with a positive result on October 21, and this result was again confirmed by the Regional Medical Sciences Centre 11 in Surat Thani on October 22. She was then admitted at Koh Samui Hospital on October 22.

Her husband and son, meanwhile, have tested negative.

The family’s friend, who picked them up at Samui Airport, has also been tested and the result is expected to be released on Friday evening.

Thailand’s export sector shows signs of revival as countries slowly open up #SootinClaimon.Com

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Thailand’s export sector shows signs of revival as countries slowly open up

NationalOct 23. 2020

By The Nation

Thailand’s export sector is expected to show signs of recovery for three consecutive months as export in September contracted 3.86 per cent compared to a 9.08 per cent contraction in the same period last year, the Trade Policy and Strategy Office said.

Relate story:

September exports better than predicted as Thai recovery accelerates

Export in September stood at US$19.62 billion, down 3.86 per cent from $17.39 billion last year, resulting in a $2.23-billion trade surplus.

Meanwhile, export in the first nine months of this year was $172.99 billion, down 7.33 per cent year on year, while import was valued at $152.37 billion, down 14.64 per cent year on year, resulting in a $20.62-billion trade surplus.

The export sector began showing recovery in September in line with economic upturn in other countries in response to the easing of lockdown measures and travel restrictions.

Export rose in three areas:

• Food, such as tapioca, palm oil, frozen pork, beverages, seasoning and pet food.

• Electrical appliances, such as computers and its components, motorised furniture and parts, refrigerators, freezers, washing machines and solar panels.

• Medical products such as rubber gloves and pharmaceuticals, the export of which had been rising since the arrival of Covid-19.

Between January and September this year, the export value of agricultural products stood at $29.46 billion, down 3.8 per cent year on year. Of this, $5.22 billion was accounted for by frozen, canned and processed vegetables and fruit, marking a rise of 8.2 per cent, rice exports dropped 15.3 per cent at $2.70 billion, rubber was down 26.5 per cent at $2.36 billion, tapioca dropped 1.9 per cent at $2 billion, while export of canned tuna dropped 9.1 per cent at $1.75 billion.

The export value of industrial products stood at $138.49 billion, down 7.3 per cent year on year. Of this, export of electrical appliances dropped 7 per cent to $17.05 billion, gems and jewellery rose 23.7 per cent to $16.13 billion, gold exports rose 88.8 per cent to $12.77 billion, up 88.8 per cent, while automobiles and auto components dropped 29.2 per cent to $14.73 billion, computers and components dropped 1.8 per cent to $13.64 billion, and plastic beads and products dropped 13.8 per cent to $8.74 billion.

Thailand’s exports to the US, China, Australia, Vietnam, Malaysia and South Korea has risen, while exports to Japan, India and the UK have dropped.

Royal Pantheon open today for public to pay homage to past kings #SootinClaimon.Com

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Royal Pantheon open today for public to pay homage to past kings

NationalOct 23. 2020

By THE NATION

His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn has ordered the opening of Prasart Phra Debidorn, also known as the Royal Pantheon, to the general public on Friday to commemorate Chulalongkorn Day, which marks the death anniversary of King Rama V.

The Royal Pantheon is located within Wat Phra Si Rattana Satsadaram (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha) in the Grand Palace in Bankok’s Phra Nakhon district.

People who wish to pay their respects to the statue of King Chulalongkorn and other past kings in the Royal Pantheon can do so from 8am until 5pm. Visitors are urged to wear polite attire. Jeans, shorts and short skirts are prohibited.

Meanwhile, civil servants, students, and the general public dressed in white gathered at the Royal Plaza in Bangkok’s Dusit district since morning to pay their respects to the equestrian statue of King Chulalongkorn the Great.

Military tackling flood problems in three provinces #SootinClaimon.Com

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Military tackling flood problems in three provinces

NationalOct 23. 2020Royal Army chief General Narongphan JitkaewtaeRoyal Army chief General Narongphan Jitkaewtae 

By The Nation

Military officers are making allout efforts to solve the flood problems in Nakhon Ratchasima, Sa Kaeo and Prachinburi provinces, Royal Army chief General Narongphan Jitkaewtae said on Friday.

He said the government and military officers are responsible for dealing with a variety of disasters to ensure people’s safety.

“Once the situation subsides, the military officers will assist people until the situation returns to normal,” he said.

He added that the Army was also ready to solve the flood problems in Cambodia, as Thailand and Cambodia have a good relationship for a long time.

Male corpse found floating in Chao Phraya under Krung Thep Bridge #SootinClaimon.Com

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Male corpse found floating in Chao Phraya under Krung Thep Bridge

NationalOct 23. 2020

By THE NATION

A man’s body was found entangled in the water hyacinths below Bangkok’s Krung Thep Bridge at about 11.30pm on Thursday.

nitial inspection showed the body, dressed in a yellow collared T-shirt, black jacket, black pants, black socks and a medical mask under his chin, had no wounds.

Nothing was found the man’s pockets other than an ID card identifying him as 42-year-old Pakin (last name withheld). The man was about 165-centimetres tall.

Police have contacted the man’s relatives and they were due to meet the authorities on Friday.

According to the forensic doctor from Siriraj Hospital, no wounds were found on the corpse and the cause of death may be from drowning. The body will undergo a more detailed investigation in hospital.