Graffiti with a purpose.
Thousands of people remained stranded in relief centers Thursday as northeast Malaysia struggled to recover from severe flooding and residents raised fears of looting.
But the number of people displaced in the states of Kelantan and Terengganu fell to about 18,300 from almost 23,000 Wednesday.
Seasonal flooding hits Malaysia’s east coast states every year and regularly results in mass evacuations.
In badly hit Rantau Panjang, a Kelantan town bordering Thailand, more than 300 residents sought shelter at a crowded relief center.
Evacuees said food was sufficient but there were hygiene concerns.
This year’s lowlights from world politics, the culture wars, and the military-industrial complex.
Each year Conn Hallinan gives awards to individuals, companies, and governments that make reading the news a daily adventure. Here are the awards for 2016.
The Golden Lemon Award had a number of strong contenders in 2016, including:
General Atomics for its MQ-9 Reaper armed drone, which has a faulty starter-generator that routinely shorts out the aircraft. So far, no one can figure out why. Some 20 were either destroyed or sustained major damage last year. The Reapers costs $64 million apiece.
Panavia Aircraft Company’s $25 billion Tornado fighter-bomber that can’t fly at night because the cockpit lights blind the pilot. A runner up here is the German arms company Heckler & Koch, whose G-36 assault rifle can’t shoot straight when the weather is hot.
The British company BAE’s $1.26 billion Type 45 destroyer that breaks down “whenever we try to do too much with them,” a Royal Navy officer told the Financial Times. Engaging in combat, he said, would be “catastrophic.”
The government of Thailand is currently investigating the Thai team of British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for publishing an ‘erroneous’ profile of the country’s new king.
Thailand enforces a strict lese majeste (royal insult) law which forbids the public from criticizing the monarchy. A simple notice to authorities about a lese majeste violation is sufficient to compel the police to launch an investigation. Those found guilty of disrespecting the monarchy can face a prison term of up to 15 years.
Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej died last October after seven decades on the throne. His son became King Vajiralongkorn, Rama X last December 1.
Thailand is a pivotal nation centered amid Southeast Asia and commanding a prominent economy with a large population. It played a pivotal role during the US war in Vietnam, but has since then incrementally diverged from serving US hegemony in Asia.
As of now, Thailand has clearly and decisively performed its own “pivot” away from Washington and toward a diverse portfolio of alternative ties, including with Beijing and Moscow. Its military inventory has been incrementally transformed from housing aging American hardware to Russian, Chinese, Middle Eastern, and even Swedish weapon systems. It also is increasingly cooperating closer with China regarding economics and regional security, a role the US has presumed a monopoly over for decades.
This report examines the emergence of social media based surveillance in Thailand, carried out potentially by people’s own networks of friends and family. It looks at the severe impact this has on personal privacy and points to potential solutions.
In May 2014, Thailand experienced a military coup – its second in eight years. A military government led by General Prayut Chan-o-cha seized power and overthrew the administration of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. The Army declared martial law, which was maintained for the following 10 months, and an interim constitution was adopted in July 2014. The declaration of martial law allowed the Thai authorities to take strict public order measures, including reportedly closely monitoring of ‘delinquent’ behaviour such as eating sandwiches in the street or reading George Orwell’s books.