London attack: five dead including offender

A suspected Islamist terrorist has been shot dead after killing four people and injuring 40 more in a car and knife attack on London’s Westminster Bridge and inside the grounds of the Houses of Parliament.

The attack started at about 2:40pm (local time) when a speeding car ran down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, before crashing into the railings surrounding the Parliament.

The knife-wielding driver then entered the Parliament grounds and fatally stabbed a police officer, identified as a 48-year-old father with 14 years’ service, before himself being shot dead.

Indonesians in London asked to remain vigilant following attack

The Indonesian Embassy in London has asked Indonesians in the capital to remain vigilant following a terrorist attack around London’s Westminster area on Wednesday afternoon local time.

Through its social media channels, the embassy also asked Indonesians to obey the London Metropolitan Police’s call on people to avoid Westminster and surrounding areas, including Parliament Square, Whitehall, Lambeth Bridge, Victoria Street up to Broadway and Victoria Embankment.

“Indonesian citizens who happen to be in London are asked to maintain communications with fellow Indonesians and avoid traveling through those areas,” the embassy stated.

Indonesians who are in trouble or with knowledge of other Indonesians who are in trouble following the incident are urged to immediately inform the Indonesian Embassy in London through the hotline +44 (0) 7881221235.

(Read also: At least 2 dead in car rampage, knife attack in London)

At least five were killed and 20 were injured during the attack.

A vehicle mowed down pedestrians on London’s Westminster Bridge, killing at least one woman and leaving others with injuries described as catastrophic. Around the same time on Wednesday, a knife-wielding attacker stabbed a police officer and was shot on the grounds outside Britain’s parliament, sending the compound into lockdown, the Associated Press reported.

“The Indonesian Embassy in London is safe. Consular services at the embassy’s new office at 30 Great Peter Street SW1P 2BU are normal,” the embassy states.

There were around 10,000 Indonesians currently residing in the United Kingdom, of which more than 2,000 were students, according to the embassy’s data in 2015. (bbs)

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Cambodia – Child rape up in 2016


The number of rapes and serious crimes committed against children in Cambodia rose by more than 10 percent last year, according to figures from the Child Protection Unit obtained yesterday.

The CPU, a joint initiative set up by the Cambodian Children’s Fund and the National Police in 2013, investigated 269 serious crimes against children aged 13.5 and under in 24 provinces in 2016, as well as homicides of children aged 15 and younger.

By comparison, there were 244 such investigations by the group in 2015 across 22 provinces. The figures paint a harrowing picture. Rapes were by far the most common recorded crime, having increased from 167 to 205, with victims as young as 2 years old.

“Although any increase is disappointing, what I will say is we expected that increase. There is now an increased faith and confidence in the policing system to report the crime,” CPU director James McCabe said.

“What I am very delighted in is the reduction in homicide. In 2015, it was almost 30, but we’ve got 21 now, so that’s a sign of the reduction in child murder.”

Battambang had the highest number of crimes at 36, with Siem Reap close behind at 34, but he commended both for their 90 percent arrest rates.

“We’re getting to a stage now – around 250 to 270 cases – where I think what’s being reported is close to what’s occurring,” he said.

Now that there was a clearer understanding of the extent of the crimes, he said the CPU would begin to look at causation and harm minimization this year by making a new database available to help NGOs target their programs.

Several other children’s rights groups also noted a rise in crimes against children last year.

Pat Ponnary, executive director at Banteay Srei, which has shelters in Battambang and Siem Reap, said she had noticed a slight increase and concurred that more people were confident to report the crimes.

“In the past, the parents were not brave or did not show their intention to file a complaint at the court, because they were afraid about the stigma and discrimination towards their children,” she said.

But not all were as optimistic as McCabe that those cases were being resolved. World Vision’s campaign manager Lyda Chea said their monitoring also saw an uptick in crimes. “Around 50 percent of them are unresolved, which could mean there was an informal settlement or the perpetrator was not caught,” she said.

“Our experience shows that people are increasingly aware of their responsibility to report incidents of violence against children, but this does not appear to be translating into actual reporting,” she said.

“Children are still perceived to be the property of adults, with limited rights, which means they can become victim of violence more easily.”

She added there needs to be better enforcement of penalties, which is currently “dramatically undermined through the growing practice of ‘reconciling’ cases through informal cash settlements rather than accessing the justice system”.

Cambodian Center for Human Rights’s fair trial rights project coordinator Hun Seanghak agreed that cases need to not only be investigated by police, but also prosecuted in a court of law.

“Ensuring that perpetrators are brought to justice, by courts that operate impartially, transparently and effectively, is essential for reducing the occurrence of these horrific crimes,” he said.

Ministry of Justice spokesman Chin Malin said the recent dissemination of the newly adopted Juvenile Justice Law should ensure police never settle rape cases with cash, though he admitted that capacity and awareness were still lacking.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY KONG META

Rafael Nadal smashes Marcos Baghdatis

Rafael Nadal dispatched Marcos Baghdatis in straight sets on Thursday night to set up a tantalising third-round clash against German teen sensation Alexander Zverev.

The 14-time grand slam champion muscled his way past Baghdatis, a beaten finalist at Melbourne Park in 2006, in an impressive 6-3-6-1 6-3 win on Rod Laver Arena.

“I won in straight sets against a difficult opponent, so very happy for the victory,” Nadal said.

“I think I can do things better, is true. I need to have some less mistakes. But in general, I have been playing well. I played solid with my serve.

“Then I created lot of chances on the return against a player that serves, well, no? So that’s good news.”

A jubilant Nadal punched the air in delight after he closed out the match.

Cambodia – Angkor Wat still top draw

Ticket sales revenue for the Angkor Archaeological Park near Siem Reap, the country’s biggest tourist draw, increased by 4.2 percent last year – the first year since the government took over ticket sales management from the private firm that had operated it for 17 years.

Data released yesterday by the Angkor Institution, the park’s state-run ticketing agency, showed the number of tickets sold in 2016 topped 2.19 million, generating nearly $63.6 million in revenue for the state coffers.

The Angkor Institution was established in January 2015 after the government took control of ticketing services from local firm Sokimex, a firm owned by tycoon Sok Kong. The decision followed repeated allegations of financial irregularities.

Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA), said the government has demonstrated its competence in handling ticketing for the ancient temple complex, and tourists were benefit-ting from easy access to Angkor Wat.

“The ticketing service offered by the government body is going smoothly,” she said. “We hope that the government will use some part of the revenue for the tourism infrastructure around the park and make the place more attractive to tourists.”

Sivlin said she expected the government’s management of ticketing to improve as it gained more experience.

In 1999, the government outsourced ticket sales for Angkor Archaeological Park to Sokha Hotels and Resorts, the hospitality arm of Sokimex, under a profit-sharing scheme with the Apsara Authority, the government body that manages the ancient temple complex. Prime Minister Hun Sen announced the end of the arrangement during a cabinet meeting in November 2015, with the handover taking place last January.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan denied at the time that persistent rumours of corruption had led to the decision to end Sokimex’s concession.

“When the business started, the government needed a partner. At that time the government had no ability to invest in that sector, so we looked to the private sector,” he said.

“Now the government sees this business is stable, the number of tourists has increased and, instead of partnering with the private sector, the government prefers to do it on our own to maximise the income for the state.”

Ho Vandy, secretary-general of Cambodia’s National Tourism Alliance, said the ticket sales revenue figure for this year was slightly disappointing given the solid tourism growth witnessed in other ASEAN markets. He said the government and private sector needed to do more to provide better services and attract more tourists.

The Angkor Institution announced last August that it will nearly double price of single-day passes for foreigners and increase the fees for multi-day tickets to the Angkor Archaeological Park starting February 1, 2017. The move prompted widespread fears that the price hike could discourage many tourists from visiting the site.

Vandy said he expects the higher ticket fees will increase overall revenue, but any drop in tourist visits would have negative repercussions on the broader economy. He suggested that the government work to incentivise tourism, encouraging visitors to stay longer in Cambodia, which would lead to higher profits for everyone in the sector.

However, he said he was willing to give the new price scheme a chance.

“Let’s go with the flow at first and then wait and see how the results [of the increased fees] for this year turn out,” he said.

Sourse: PhnomPhenPost

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Thailand – Memories of the late monarch

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Jubilant Assad calls fall of rebels in Aleppo an historic event as hundreds of survivors flee city — National Post – Top Stories

BEIRUT — Weeping, hobbling on crutches or dragging suitcases, hundreds of survivors of a devastating government bombardment left the last sliver of opposition-held Aleppo on Thursday, as a smiling President Bashar Assad called it an historic event comparable to the birth of Christ, and Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said Canada will not be getting…

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