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Regional news in brief
Regional news in brief
PM pledges to eradicate ‘cancer of corruption’
The “cancer” of corruption must be eradicated from Thailand if the country
is ever to become a thriving democracy, Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont
“We as a nation will not achieve good and honest government if we allow
corruption and disregard for the rule of law to continue,”
Surayud said during Thaksin’s administration, “the rule of law came under
fierce attack from the powerful, the rich and cronies. Corruption washed
through our government.”
Thais fear election will be delayed
The latest Suan Dusit Rajabhat University survey has found that nearly
half of all respondents believe that the critically important general
election scheduled to be held this December will be delayed.
Better known as the Suan Dusit Poll, the survey interviewed 3,174 persons in
12 provinces nationwide June 4-10.
There are many reasons that would put off the general election, the Suan
Dusit poll makers explained. Nearly half of the respondents, 48.05 per cent,
said political conflicts, especially ongoing demonstrations against the
Council for National Security and the interim government would be the chief
reason for delaying the election.
Cambodian PM lashes out
Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen angrily denied reported comments by a
retired Thai general that some Cambodian Muslims were fanning an Islamic
insurgency in southern Thailand.
Retired Gen. Wattanachai Chaimuenwong, now a security affairs adviser to
Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont, reportedly said that some Cambodian
Muslims were part of Jemaah Islamiyah, a regional terror network and had
been involved in the insurgency in southern Thailand.
China trade surplus up 73 percent
China’s monthly trade surplus soared 73 percent in May from a year ago
amid U.S. pressure on Beijing for action on its yawning trade gap or face
Exports exceeded imports by US$22.5 billion, citing data from China’s
customs agency. That figure, close to the all-time record high monthly
surplus of US$23.8 billion reported in October, came despite repeated
Chinese pledges to take steps to narrow the gap by boosting imports and rein
in fevered export growth.
China should not punish people for expressing their political views on
the Internet, Yahoo Inc. said one day after the mother of a jailed Chinese
reporter announced she was suing the U.S. company for helping officials
imprison her son.
Yahoo’s statement didn’t specifically mention the case of jailed journalist
Shi Tao, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2005 after sending an
e-mail about Chinese media restrictions. The company has acknowledged
sharing information about Shi with Chinese authorities.
Sanctions on Myanmar pointless
Western sanctions to force democracy on Myanmar are pointless because
the country will survive as long as it is supported by China and India, a
senior Southeast Asian official said.
“Sanctions for what?” said Ong Keng Yong, the secretary-general of the
10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations of which Myanmar is also a
“Myanmar is not part of the global economy. They are no big shakes. Even if
you pull out everybody from Myanmar, every economic investor, they are not
going to collapse simply because their two big neighbors will always be
willing to sustain them,” Ong said, referring to China and India, which are
not members of ASEAN.
Blind contractor’s bridge collapses
Two Chinese officials have been jailed for letting a blind contractor
build a bridge that collapsed during construction, injuring 12 workers.
A court in the southern province of Jianxi sentenced Huang Wenge, to 18
months in jail, and local party leader Xia Jiazhong to 12 months.
Last November the two hired for a bridge-building project a contractor, who
then transferred the construction to another contractor, Xia Huaqing, who is
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