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  1. Thailand Live Thursday 22 Feb 2018

    Prosecutor calls Maldives' extension of state of emergency unconstitutional: sources, media By Mohamed Junayd Maldivian Police officers push back opposition supporters near the main opposition Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) headquarters during a protest demanding the government to release jailed opposition leaders, including former Presidents Mohamed Nasheed and Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in line with a last week Supreme Court order, in Male, Maldives February 9, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer MALE (Reuters) - The extension of a state of emergency in the Maldives was unconstitutional, the country's prosecutor general has said, according to two sources and local media on Wednesday. Full story: https://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/1026137-prosecutor-calls-maldives-extension-of-state-of-emergency-unconstitutional-sources-media/
  2. Prosecutor calls Maldives' extension of state of emergency unconstitutional: sources, media By Mohamed Junayd Maldivian Police officers push back opposition supporters near the main opposition Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) headquarters during a protest demanding the government to release jailed opposition leaders, including former Presidents Mohamed Nasheed and Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in line with a last week Supreme Court order, in Male, Maldives February 9, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer MALE (Reuters) - The extension of a state of emergency in the Maldives was unconstitutional, the country's prosecutor general has said, according to two sources and local media on Wednesday. Parliament approved on Tuesday the extension sought by President Abdulla Yameen, but it was passed without the constitutionally required quorum of 43 lawmakers. The prosecutor general, Aishath Bisham, had told police in a letter the state of emergency was unconstitutional, two senior officials of the Prosecutor General's office told Reuters. "The prosecutor general said that she believed the vote was unconstitutional and as a result the state of emergency is also unconstitutional," one official said. "She did not ask the police to release the state of emergency arrestees, but she said that she could not see any legal basis for keeping them under arrest." Prosecutor General's letter comes after several travel advisories since Yameen declared the state of emergency on Feb. 5 and several tourists have been cancelling hundreds of hotel bookings every day despite government assurances that all is normal in the resort islands, far from the capital. When parliament approved the extension of emergency, the ruling party legislators also sought a Supreme Court opinion through a resolution on the approval without the quorum. In his request to extend the emergency, Yameen said a threat to national security had not diminished and a constitutional crisis had not been resolved. Yameen imposed a state of emergency on Feb. 5 for 15 days to annul a Supreme Court ruling that quashed convictions against nine opposition leaders and ordered his government to free those held in prison. The emergency ended on Tuesday. The Supreme Court after the parliament vote on Tuesday issued a temporary stay, asking all state institutions to follow the state of emergency declaration until it deliberated on a resolution submitted to the court by the parliament. The resolution raised questions about the legality of the vote to extend the state of emergency. Abdul Raheem Abdulla, the vice president Yameen's Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) said the Supreme Court's stay order means that the Court has seen the state of emergency declaration vote as "something that can be lawfully done". Ahmed Mahloof, an opposition spokesperson, said the president was forcing the police to keep the people arrested in detention, despite the prosecutor general's letter. "The chief justice and a judge of the court are detained illegally," Mahloof told reporters. "The Supreme Court can't deliberate without the chief justice. They can't even use the seal of the court without the permission of the chief justice." Police dispersed night protests by opposition supporters who have been demanding the detention of president Yameen and release of opposition leaders. Under the emergency, Yameen's administration has arrested the chief justice, another Supreme Court judge and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom on allegations of attempting to overthrow the government. Though Yameen has ignored the court rulings, he has stopped short of saying he will not obey them. He has, however, fired two police chiefs who said they would uphold the rulings, and he continues to jail opposition members. (Writing by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Larry King and Lisa Shumaker) -- © Copyright Reuters 2018-02-22
  3. Thailand Live Thursday 22 Feb 2018

    Leaders to discuss EU money, top jobs after Brexit By Jan Strupczewski Anti-Brexit demonstrators wave EU and Union flags outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Money and top jobs will be the main topics of an informal summit of 27 European Union leaders on Friday, as the bloc tries to deal with the consequences of Britain's exit from the EU in 2019. Full story: https://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/1026135-leaders-to-discuss-eu-money-top-jobs-after-brexit/
  4. Leaders to discuss EU money, top jobs after Brexit By Jan Strupczewski Anti-Brexit demonstrators wave EU and Union flags outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Money and top jobs will be the main topics of an informal summit of 27 European Union leaders on Friday, as the bloc tries to deal with the consequences of Britain's exit from the EU in 2019. EU leaders except Britain are to say whether they agree to increase the EU's next seven-year budget to pay for common policies on security, defence and migration, even though Britain's departure will leave fewer net contributors. They are also due to say if they would agree to give the European Parliament a bigger voice in choosing the next head of the EU's powerful executive, the European Commission, and what to do with assembly seats vacated by British deputies. "The informal summit on Friday will kick-start the debate on the EU after Brexit, both on institutional issues as well as on the budgetary framework," a senior EU official said. "All the decisions that will be prepared by this summit will enter into force only once the UK leaves the European Union," the official said. The European Commission wants leaders to increase the next long-term budget, which will finance the EU's joint policies from 2021 to 2027, to 1.1-1.2 percent of EU GDP from 1.0 now. To cover the roughly 10-billion-euro-a-year hole that will be left by Britain's exit, the Commission has proposed a mix of spending cuts and tapping new sources of revenue. Germany, already the biggest net contributor to the EU budget, has said it would be ready to pay even more, but other countries, like the Netherlands, have ruled out higher payments saying a smaller EU implied a smaller budget. "The EU budget has been pretty divisive and will remain so even without the UK around the table," the official said, warning there would be no agreement on a number on Friday. "A majority of member states would support an increase in the EU budget, but those who are sceptical, or against, are very determined and maybe more determined than those who are for," the official said, noting talks were only starting now. "We will not have a consensual view on Friday." LEAD CANDIDATE DISPUTE Apart from how much to spend and on what, the leaders will also have to solve more procedural issues like how much time the EU should give itself to agree on that. The Commission would like an agreement on the budget by the next European Parliament elections in May 2019, but many EU leaders see such a time-frame as unrealistically short given that the current budget took 29 months to negotiate. The result could be that major progress in the budget negotiations will be made by May 2019, but a final deal will only be clinched with the new European Parliament later. The leaders are likely to agree with a European Parliament proposal to cut the number of seats in the legislature to 705 from 751 after 73 British deputies leave the parliament and some of their seats are re-distributed among other EU members to account for demographic changes. But the leaders are also likely to reject a European Parliament demand that the leaders choose the next head of the European Commission only from among lead candidates chosen by the main political groups in the legislature. "It will be up to (EU leaders) to decide, also taking into account other treaty obligations, it will be an autonomous decision by the European Council," the official said. "Becoming a lead candidate (of one of the European Parliament parties) does not eliminate you from the race (for Commission president), it might increase your chances, but it cannot be, and will not be, a guarantee of becoming the president of the Commission," the official said. (Reporting By Jan Strupczewski, Editing by William Maclean) -- © Copyright Reuters 2018-02-22
  5. Thailand Live Thursday 22 Feb 2018

    Pattaya Night Run scheduled for March to boost tourism FILE photo CHON BURI, 22 February 2018 (NNT) – The beach resort town of Pattaya is set to host the Pattaya Night Run 2018 in March as part of the tourism promotion strategy. Full story: https://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/1026133-pattaya-night-run-scheduled-for-march-to-boost-tourism/
  6. Pattaya Night Run scheduled for March to boost tourism FILE photo CHON BURI, 22 February 2018 (NNT) – The beach resort town of Pattaya is set to host the Pattaya Night Run 2018 in March as part of the tourism promotion strategy. The Chon Buri Provincial Office of Tourism and Sports, together with Pattaya Municipality and related agencies, has held a press conference on the upcoming Pattaya Night Run 2018. Among the attendees were Deputy Governor of Chon Buri Chaicharn Aeimjaroen, Pattaya City Mayor Anan Charoenchasri as well as representatives of the Provincial Office of Tourism and Sports, Provincial Public Relations Office and Pattaya Business and Tourism Association. Deputy Governor Chaicharn stated that the objective of the Pattaya Night Run is to promote a new trend of tourism in Pattaya and stimulate the national economy while also encouraging the public to exercise. The main event is called Fun Run, in which participants will get to run in a fun nightlife setting of Pattaya, with upbeat music, laser displays and light tunnels throughout the course. Another special feature is an art corner, where runners can splatter themselves with glow-in-the-dark paints. On the sidelines of Fun Run, there will be a concert featuring the hit girl band BNK48 and Ae Jirakorn. Other fun activities include a costume contest, which is divided into individual and group categories, and the “Run for More Likes” photo contest on social media. Many prizes will be up for grabs. The Pattaya Night Run, which is the first of its kind, will take place at Bali Hai Pier on Saturday, March 3 from 6 pm until midnight. -- nnt 2018-02-22
  7. Thailand Live Thursday 22 Feb 2018

    South Korea spent $220,000 on Kim Jong Un's sister and delegation, official says Im Jong-seok, the Chief Presidential Secretary for President of South Korea Moon Jae-in, greets Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, during a banquet at a hotel in Seoul, South Korea, February 11, 2018. Picture taken February 11, 2018. The Presidential Blue House/Yonhap via REUTERS SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea spent around 240 million won ($223,237) on the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and her entourage during their three-day visit for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, a government official said on Thursday. Full story: https://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/1026132-south-korea-spent-220000-on-kim-jong-uns-sister-and-delegation-official-says/
  8. South Korea spent $220,000 on Kim Jong Un's sister and delegation, official says Im Jong-seok, the Chief Presidential Secretary for President of South Korea Moon Jae-in, greets Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, during a banquet at a hotel in Seoul, South Korea, February 11, 2018. Picture taken February 11, 2018. The Presidential Blue House/Yonhap via REUTERS SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea spent around 240 million won ($223,237) on the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and her entourage during their three-day visit for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, a government official said on Thursday. The money was mostly spent on accommodation, transportation and food for the four members of the delegation and their 18 staff members, an official at South Korea's Ministry of Unification said on condition of anonymity. Kim's sister Kim Yo Jong and the other North Korean officials stayed at the Walkerhill Hotel, a five-star riverside hotel in eastern Seoul. She and her delegation travelled between Seoul and the Winter Olympics venue on the eastern coast of South Korea and South Korean officials also hosted meals for them at top-class hotels. The Ministry of Unification spent around 130 million won on accommodation and 50 million won each for transportation and food, the official said. In comparison, the International Olympic Committee paid roughly $50,000 to for the training and preparation of North Korea's 22 Olympic athletes, or about $2,300 each. The amount would be a fraction of the money spent on the rest of the poor, heavily sanctioned North's main delegation for the Winter Olympics, which included 229 cheerleaders and a 137-strong orchestra. The Unification Ministry said earlier this month it approved a record budget of about $2.6 million to host the 418 North Korean delegates who didn't appear in competition - almost $6,200 each. ($1 = 1,075.0900 won) (Reporting by Christine Kim; Editing by Paul Tait) -- © Copyright Reuters 2018-02-22
  9. Thailand Live Thursday 22 Feb 2018

    May wants EU citizens to stay after Brexit Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London, Britain February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday she wants all European Union citizens lawfully living in Britain to remain after Brexit in 2019 and promised a streamlined system for them to register to be able to stay. Full story: https://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/1026130-may-wants-eu-citizens-to-stay-after brexit/
  10. May wants EU citizens to stay after Brexit Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London, Britain February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday she wants all European Union citizens lawfully living in Britain to remain after Brexit in 2019 and promised a streamlined system for them to register to be able to stay. "They've made a huge contribution to our country, that's why we want them and their families to stay. I'm absolutely clear that EU citizens living lawfully in the UK today will be able to stay," May said in parliament. "It's going to be a digital system, it'll be streamlined, it'll be user friendly, and it will ensure that this is as simple and as easy a process for people as we can provide." (Reporting By Andrew MacAskill; Editing by Alisair Smout) -- © Copyright Reuters 2018-02-22
  11. Thailand Live Thursday 22 Feb 2018

    Britain wants to discuss length of Brexit transition with EU By Elizabeth Piper FILE PHOTO: A demonstrator carries a Union Jack and a European Union flag as the EU's chief Brexitnegotiator Michel Barnier visits Downing Street in London, Britain February 5, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah Mckay/File Photo LONDON (Reuters) - Britain wants to discuss the length of any post-Brexit transition period with the European Union, but believes that around two years should be enough time to prepare "new processes" and "new systems", according to a draft paper. Full story: https://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/1026129-britain-wants-to-discuss-length-of brexit transition-with-eu/
  12. Britain wants to discuss length of Brexit transition with EU By Elizabeth Piper FILE PHOTO: A demonstrator carries a Union Jack and a European Union flag as the EU's chief Brexitnegotiator Michel Barnier visits Downing Street in London, Britain February 5, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah Mckay/File Photo LONDON (Reuters) - Britain wants to discuss the length of any post-Brexit transition period with the European Union, but believes that around two years should be enough time to prepare "new processes" and "new systems", according to a draft paper. Prime Minister Theresa May hopes to seal a deal with the EU on a transition period in March this year, to offer companies some certainty a year before Britain is due to leave the bloc, and has repeatedly said it should not drag on indefinitely. But EU officials say they doubt whether Britain will be ready to make a full break by Brussels' proposed date of Dec. 31, 2020, and are preparing for a much longer goodbye, an idea anathema to hard Brexiteers. In a draft paper responding to the EU's guidelines for the transition period, May's government said the timeframe "should be determined simply by how long it will take to prepare and implement the new processes and new systems that will underpin the future partnership". "The UK agrees this points to a period of around two years, but wishes to discuss with the EU the assessment that supports its proposed end date," it said. May's spokesman said the statement did not mean Britain wanted to extend what May calls an 'implementation phase', but rather that the government wanted to question the EU's position that the end of the transition should coincide with the end of the bloc's current seven-year budget period. "There is nothing remotely new," he told reporters. Britain still wants to agree a fixed date and hopes that can be approved by EU leaders at a summit on March 22-23. Britain's Brexit secretary David Davis told a parliamentary committee in January that "around two years" meant between 21 and 27 months. The EU proposal is for just 21. "NOT A GIVEN" The EU and Britain had been expected to agree to a largely status-quo transition quite quickly, but Barnier said this month that a deal was "not a given" after accusing London of bringing up "substantial" objections to the bloc's offer. One point of conflict is the rights of EU citizens. May has stood by her position that those arriving after March next year should have different rights to those who entered before. The British government says those arriving during the transition period will have different expectations. But May told parliament that she wanted people to stay. "They've made a huge contribution to our country, that's why we want them and their families to stay. I'm absolutely clear that EU citizens living lawfully in the UK today will be able to stay," May said in parliament. Overall, the government's draft document did little to highlight the areas where the two sides may disagree. It made little more than technical changes to an EU document and simply underlined Britain's desire to agree swiftly on foreign, security and defence affairs and, after doing so, for any deals to come into force even during the transition. Britain also wants a way to object to new EU legislation during the transition - something that may address the fears of hardline Brexit campaigners who have written to May to demand that she toughen her negotiating position. "The UK believes this document demonstrates that there is broad alignment between the UK and EU positions, with only a small number of areas requiring discussion," the paper said. "This reflects the desire of both parties to provide certainty as swiftly as possible to individuals and businesses in the UK and across the EU about the arrangements that will apply from the point of the UK's withdrawal." (Reporting By Elizabeth Piper and Andrew MacAskill in London; additional reporting by Jan Strupczewski, Gabriela Baczynska, Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels; Editing by Kevin Liffey, William Maclean) -- © Copyright Reuters 2018-02-22
  13. Thailand Live Thursday 22 Feb 2018

    South Korea's Moon says relations with U.S. are "rock solid" - media Feb 16, 2018; Pyeongchang, South Korea; South Korea president Moon Jae-in visit the Olympic Main Press Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean President Moon Jae-in said relations with the United States are "rock solid" and "as strong and robust as ever" in a media interview, as his administration gears up for a possible summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Full story: https://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/1026127-south-koreas-moon-says-relations-with-us-are-rock-solid-media/
  14. South Korea's Moon says relations with U.S. are "rock solid" - media Feb 16, 2018; Pyeongchang, South Korea; South Korea president Moon Jae-in visit the Olympic Main Press Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean President Moon Jae-in said relations with the United States are "rock solid" and "as strong and robust as ever" in a media interview, as his administration gears up for a possible summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Moon's administration has faced questions from lawmakers over whether there have been any differences in opinion or policy between staunch allies South Korea and the United States over efforts to engage North Korea to get it to abandon its missile and nuclear programmes. "President Trump said that I could notify him at any time if help was needed in the process of carrying out inter-Korean dialogue and that he supported me 100 percent," Moon told the magazine Monocle in an interview published on Thursday. "My goal is to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue and solidify peace." South Korean officials, including Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-hwa, have denied any differences with the United States and stressed that South Korea is in close negotiations with it on every step regarding North Korea policy. South Korea held talks with North Korea for the first time in more than two years in January and agreed to host North Korean athletes, musicians, cheerleaders and a high-level delegation at the Winter Olympics being held in the South. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sent his younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, as part of the delegation to meet Moon. She invited the South Korean president to Pyongyang for talks with her brother. Signs of a North-South thaw have prompted speculation about the possibility of direct U.S.-North Korea talks after months of tension and exchanges of insults between U.S. President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader fuelled fears of war. North Korea has not carried out any weapons tests since late November, when it fired its largest intercontinental ballistic missile. The United States has said it supports talks between the two Koreas and added it is open to talks with North Korea itself, but only to convey the U.S. stance that it must give up its nuclear weapons, a demand the North has rejected. (Reporting by Christine Kim; Editing by Robert Birsel) -- © Copyright Reuters 2018-02-22
  15. Thailand Live Thursday 22 Feb 2018

    Confidant of Israel's Netanyahu turns state witness in corruption case - media By Jeffrey Heller Shlomo Filber (L) sits at the Magistrate Court during his remand in Tel Aviv, Israel, February 18, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A confidant of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to turn state's witness in one of several corruption investigations posing a serious threat to the conservative leader's political survival, local media said. Full story: https://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/1026126-confidant-of-israels-netanyahu-turns-state-witness-in-corruption-case-media/
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