#Indonesia – East Jakarta fire burns house, leaves owner homeless.

Another fire broke out in the capital on Friday as a house in Cakung, East Jakarta, was gutted by flames. A preliminary investigation suggested that the fire was caused by an electrical short circuit.

“There were no casualties, although the house owner lost all of his belongings,” said Gatot Sulaiman of the East Jakarta Fire Department on Friday, as quoted by beritajakarta.id.

He added that the fire started at about 2 p.m.

The fire department deployed two fire engines to extinguish the blaze. The fire was completely put out about 45 minutes later.

The incident was the second of the day as a fire had broken out in a four-story shop house in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta, early Friday morning. The earlier fire was also allegedly caused by an electrical short circuit.

Sourse – TheJakartaPost

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#Thailand – TAO chief and four others held over Big C bombing

Suspected murder of owner of pickup used in Pattani blasts

FIVE MEN, including a Tambon Administration Organisation (TAO) chief, have been detained for questioning over their alleged involvement in the broad daylight bomb blasts in Pattani province, Fourth Army Region Commander Lt-General Piyawat Narkwanich said yesterday.

This is the first time that a state official has been identified and detained for alleged involvement in the insurgency in the deep South. Piyawat did not name the TAO chief.

The chief of Pattani’s Nong Chik district was arrested after another suspect implicated him in the alleged murder of a pickup owner and the theft of the vehicle that was used in the attack in the province’s Muang district on Tuesday.

 Evidence found at the scene and footage from the Big C department store’s security camera led to the arrest of the suspects, Piyawat said.

The five suspects allegedly stole the pickup of Yala resident Nuson Kajornkam, which was used in the car-bomb attack at the Big C outlet.

Piyawat said there was a likelihood that Nuson had been killed as one of the five detained suspects had confessed to wiping blood from the pickup.

The body of Nuson was later found in a paddy field in Pattani’s Nong Chik district. His wife earlier said that someone had telephoned Nuson on Monday, saying he wanted to buy items from him in Pattani.

She said her husband left at around 10am on Tuesday for Pattani. Nuson’s vehicle, bearing Yala licence plate Bor Jor 3303, was later packed with explosives and parked at the Big C store where it exploded at about 2.30pm, leaving more than 80 injured, including children.

Investigators have concluded that the pickup was stolen from a mosque in Ban Mai, a village in Nongchik district’s Tambon Kohpoh in Pattani.

Witnesses told police they saw four men surrounding the pickup before the owner was killed and his body was taken away in another pickup. Despite a fresh concrete floor having been laid, bloodstains were found at the spot identified by the witnesses.

Piyawat called for understanding from the public, as tighter security would mean difficulties in commuting.

“Authorities will be checking every vehicle, including ice-cream trucks because the insurgents are trying to adjust their operations, so we have to be one better than them,” he said.

The insurgents’ attack on the Big C department store in Pattani had led to great loss of support among Thai Muslim local residents, Piyawat said. The bomb attack had most affected Thai Muslims who were shopping in the store, including children, he added. About 95 per cent of the population in the area is Thai Muslim.

“The blasts have badly affected not only the Thai Muslim community but also every group of society, particularly women and children. They are just people who went to the store to buy things before going home,” Piyawat said.

Meanwhile, national police chief Pol General Chakthip Chaijinda said police had been warned about the Big C bombing about an hour before the attack.

Source – TheNation

Atlético Madrid 2-1 Real Madrid

Real Madrid defeated Atletico Madrid 4-2 on aggregate in the UEFA Champions League semifinals after a 1-2 loss in the second leg to set up a final clash against Juventus.Get highlights of Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid here.

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A match more than two years ago is keeping Atletico Madrid hopeful of a comeback against Real Madrid in the Champions League semifinals. Atletico Madrid need to overturn a 3-0 loss from the first leg tonight, but it wasn’t too long ago that fans at the Vicente Calderon Stadium witnessed the type of feat that can put Atletico in the final. It was on a Saturday afternoon in February 2015 that Atletico had one of its greatest victories over Madrid, a 4-0 rout in the Spanish league. Get live score and live football commentary of Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid here.

#Thailand – Pattani bombers targeted back-to-school shoppers.

Police forensics specialists and an Explosive Ordnance Disposal squad on Wednesday morning inspected the scene outside a Big C department store in Pattani’s Mueang district where a powerful car bomb had exploded the previous day, injuring 61 people.

Investigators believe the culprits parked a pickup truck at the store’s entrance containing two cylinders of cooking gas in its rear cab space. 

The explosion occurred at about 2.30pm on Tuesday when the store was crowded with parents and their children buying school materials for the new semester.

Source – TheNation

#INDONESIA – ASEAN lawmakers alarmed at conviction of Jakarta governor

Lawmakers across Southeast Asia have expressed concern over the sentencing of Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, to two years in prison for blasphemy on Tuesday.

“The verdict is deeply disconcerting not only for Indonesia but for the entire ASEAN region. Indonesia was thought to be a regional leader in terms of democracy and openness. This decision places that position in jeopardy and raises concerns about Indonesia’s future as an open, tolerant, diverse society,” said Charles Santiago, a member of the Malaysian Parliament and chair of ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR).

“Ahok has become a victim of rising extremism and religious identity politics. But this decision has impacts beyond justice for one individual. It is a triumph for intolerance and an ominous sign for minority rights. At a time when fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression and freedom of religion, are under increasing threat region-wide, this verdict sends the wrong signal to Indonesia’s neighbors in the ASEAN community,” he said in a written statement.

Ahok, Jakarta’s second Christian governor after Henk Ngantung (1964-1965), was convicted of blasphemy by the North Jakarta District Court and sentenced to two years in prison.

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The charges stemmed from a September speech, in which he invoked a verse from the Quran in criticizing the arguments of those who suggested that Muslims could not vote for a Christian leader.

APHR said the ruling could embolden religious hard-liners in the country and called into further question Indonesia’s harsh Blasphemy Law, which permits prison sentences of up to five years for those found guilty.

Source – TheNation

Emmanuel Macron (a Rothschild Banker) wins french elections

Emmanuel Macron the new French president.

PARIS — The European political establishment breathed a heavy sigh of relief Sunday, as French voters elected pragmatic centrist Emmanuel Macron as president over right-wing challenger Marine Le Pen, who threatened to upend Europe’s existing order, according polling agency projections.

Macron won with 65.5% of votes against 34.5% for Marine Le Pen. Le Pen called Macron to congratulate him on his victory.

Her National Front party had threatened to curb immigration, particularly for Muslims, pull France out of the European Union and return the country to the French franc currency — moves that would have caused political and economic upheaval not only in Europe, but the rest of the world.

Macron, 39, is a former investment banker and economy minister who strongly supports the European Union. He is France’s youngest ever president.

His supporters gathered outside the Louvre museum Sunday for a victory party.

Macron’s victory, coming on the heels of defeats for right-wing populist candidates in Austria and the Netherlands, appears to blunt the anti-establishment fervor sweeping Europe amid a backlash against economic stagnation, a flood of migrants pouring into their countries and a string of nerve-rattling terror attacks.

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#Cambodia – Ground broken for oil refinery

After years of delays and setbacks, the Cambodian firm set to operate the Kingdom’s landmark oil refinery finally broke ground yesterday on a $1.62 billion project with an updated completion date set for the middle of 2019.

The oil refinery, which will be built on 365 hectares across Kampot and Sihanoukville provinces, was first expected to be completed in 2014 after receiving full financial funding from the Export-Import Bank of China in December 2013.

Developed by private firm Cambodia Petrochemical Company (CPC), the refinery plans did not move forward until May of last year when the company granted a $620 million first phase construction contract to the state-owned Chinese National Petroleum Company. Construction was then outsourced to China’s Sino Great Wall International Engineering Group.

When all phases of the project are finally completed, the facility is expected to have an annual refining capacity of 5 million tonnes of crude oil, according to Vinh Hour, chairman of CPC. He added that the refinery would reduce the need for imports and improve national security by creating domestic reserves.

“Any country that does not have a stockpile of petroleum can be in a dangerous situation because if there is uncertainty in the international market and supply stops, the economy will grind to a halt,” he said.

Hour said that the refinery project was delayed for numerous years because of a prolonged environmental impact assessment process and a long wait for Chinese financial backers to give the go ahead for construction.

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The refinery would be dependent on crude imports from the Middle East in the near term and would initially be used for domestic distribution, though Hour claimed that once Cambodia produces its own oil, the facility would help the country become a net exporter.

KrisEnergy, the Singaporean firm with full rights to Cambodia’s Block A oil field in the Gulf of Thailand, is close to finalizing a revenue sharing agreement with the Cambodian government to begin the first domestic crude oil production. Extraction could begin within 24 to 26 months of the agreement.

Cheap Sour, director general of the general department of petroleum at the Ministry of Mines and Energy, said the refinery would fulfill domestic demand while lowering prices at the pump.

“We hope that the oil refinery project will lower the price of petroleum in the market and benefit consumers,” he said, adding that the waste from the factory can be used to produce plastic and fertilizer.

“This refinery will help us to gain energy independence,” he said.Danish petroleum expert Tommy Christensen said that while the refinery could add “national value” to Cambodia’s energy supply chain, it would be difficult for the company to be profitable as long it relied on large amounts of crude imports.

“Cambodia’s national interest is to have their own crude production and possible refining capacity, but as long as they have to import crude oil in competition with neighboring countries, in particular Thailand, then the economics might not work for Cambodia,” he said.

He added that once Block A finally begins production, having domestic capabilities could place Cambodia on the global energy trade map.

However, he said the refinery was built with a fundamentally flawed business model as it was not a Cambodian state-run initiative, which would have created more value for the economy.

“This is not a Cambodia initiative, but a private sector and Chinese strategic interest initiative,” he said. “And due to [strict] regulations in [China], Cambodia is the nearest country they can invest in.”

“If Cambodia was really the owner of the refinery, with its own crude oil production in years to come, then taxation and revenue from this refinery would benefit the economy on a larger scale.”

Han Phoumin, an energy economist for the Economic Research Institute for Asean and East Asia, said the venture could occupy a unique and lucrative place in the domestic market due to the fact that oil imports to Cambodia are heavily monopolized.

However, he noted that if the refinery was primarily built to feed China’s energy appetite, it could struggle with established competition.

“Of course, any refinery in Southeast Asia will find it difficult to compete with Singapore’s refineries which can produce efficiently with the best quality products at a fair price,” he said. “It should be cautioned that many refineries in Asia cannot make profit.”

Source – PhnomPenhpost

Diego Simeone ‘convinced’ Atletico can pull off Real miracle

Atletico Madrid’s Argentinian coach Diego Simeone (L) gestures on the sideline with Real Madrid’s French coach Zinedine Zidane in background during the UEFA Champions League semifinal first leg football match Real Madrid CF vs Club Atletico de Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, on May 2, 2017. (AFP/Gerard Julien)

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone believes overturning a 3-0 Champions League semi-final first-leg deficit against Real Madrid would be “impossible” for others, but not for his side.

Simeone’s men must pull off a remarkable comeback in Wednesday’s second leg to avoid being dumped out of the Champions League for a fourth straight season by their cross-city rivals.

“On Wednesday we have a very difficult game. For some impossible, but not for us,” said Simeone after Atletico secured a top-four finish in La Liga for a fifth straight season with a 1-0 win over Eibar on Saturday.

“I’ve told the players it is very difficult, that we are facing the best team in the world, who score goals in every game, but that it is possible.

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“I am convinced of it. If I wasn’t I wouldn’t say it. If we are united and understand that it is a semi-final at home we have a chance.”

Wednesday’s clash is likely to be the final European game at Atletico’s Vicente Calderon as they move to the new 67,000-capacity Wanda Metropolitano next season.

Atletico were given a rousing reception throughout at the Calderon on Saturday despite the disappointment of their 3-0 first-leg capitulation to Real in midweek.

And Saul Niguez’s winner 21 minutes from time ensured they now need just one more point from their final two games to guarantee third place in La Liga ahead of Sevilla and avoid a Champions League qualifier in August.

“They have been nearly six marvellous years. The fans are grateful and the players continue to give their all, to fight and raise themselves after they’ve been knocked down,” added Simeone, who took over as coach in 2011.

“We had big difficulties at the start of the season and situations that meant we lost our consistency that this team has always had.

“With two games to go we are in a strong position and we hope to be able to finish it off in the next game.”

Source – TheJakartaPost

#Thailand – 9 policemen sacked as Mae Hong Son child-sex investigation widens

. NINE MAE HONG SON police-men have been dismissed from the civil service and put under serious disciplinary investigation after be…

Source: #Thailand – 9 policemen sacked as Mae Hong Son child-sex investigation widens

NINE MAE HONG SON police-men have been dismissed from the civil service and put under serious disciplinary investigation after being implicated in the northern province’s underage prostitution scandal.

#Thailand – Facebook lese majeste charges

SIX PEOPLE were charged and put on remand for alleged royal defamation, sedition, and computer crimes on Wednesday after being in military custody since last weekend, according to the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR).

Among the six was Prawet Prapanukul, a human rights lawyer widely known for defending red-shirt political prisoners such as Daranee Charnchoengsilpakul.

Prawet has denied he posted provocative and insulting messages against the monarchy on Facebook. He has been charged with lese majeste, computer crimes and sedition.

Another suspect who was identified as Danai faced the same charges but officers who brought the case to court did not describe the details of his alleged crimes, only saying he was the same person facing an arrest warrant dated April 28, the TLHR reported. Danai has denied the charges. The four others were accused of defaming the monarchy and committing computer crimes by sharing a Facebook post regarding the mysterious disappearance of the Siamese Revolution plaque. 

Three of them admitted the crimes while the fourth denied the charges. The criminal court rejected bail requests for the six and ordered that they be remanded in custody until May 14.

The THRL stated the six might have been detained in the 11th Military Circle since last Saturday. Relatives and lawyers had not been able to contact them since then, the THRL wrote on its website.

Source – TheNation

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