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  1. Penang consulate limits visa applications to 100 per day The Phuket News The notice was posted earlier today (May 8). Image: Royal Thai Consulate-General, Penang PHUKET: The Royal Thai Consulate-General in Penang has announced that it will limit the number of visas issued to just 100 per day, starting from Monday (May 14). Persons with incomplete documents will not be permitted to enter the building and those found to have had their visa application rejected must not apply until next day, the consulate said in a notice issued earlier today (May 8) marked “ANNOUNCEMENT (visa matters esp. tourists) starting from Monday, 14 May” Overstays incur a high risk of visa refusal and submission of fake documents will automatically incur a one-year ban on applying for a visa to enter the country, the notice warned. Full story: http://www.thephuketnews.com/penang-consulate-limits-visa-applications-to-100-per-day-67043.php -- © Copyright Phuket News 2018-05-08
  2. Malaysia's Anwar Ibrahim pardoned, walks out of hospital Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim waves as he leaves a hospital where he is receiving treatment, ahead of an audience with Malaysia's King Sultan Muhammad V, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia May 16, 2018. REUTERS/Lai Seng Sin KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Jailed Malaysian leader Anwar Ibrahim was granted a full pardon on Wednesday and walked free out of a hospital in Kuala Lumpur where he has been undergoing treatment. Smiling and waving to supporters, Anwar, 70, was wearing a black suit with a tie. He was surrounded by his family, lawyers and prison guards before getting into a car and driving to the palace for an audience with the king. "The pardons board has already met and the king has granted a full pardon, which means all past convictions have been expunged," said Sivarasa Rasiah, Anwar's lawyer. (Reporting by Joseph Sipalan, Editing by Praveen Menon and Raju Gopalakrishnan) -- © Copyright Reuters 2018-05-16
  3. South, North Korea to hold first summit in decade at DMZ By Soyoung Kim South Korea has released a busy agenda for Friday, when North Korea's Kim Jong Un will cross the border into the South for a historic inter-Korean summit. SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is set to cross his country's heavily militarised border with South Korea on Friday for the first intra-Korea summit in more than a decade, as the old foes seek to end their decades-long conflict and ease tensions over the North's nuclear weapons programme. The summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in will set the stage for Kim to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump in late May or early June, in what will be an unprecedented first encounter between sitting leaders of the two countries. Just months ago, Trump and Kim were trading threats and insults as North Korea's rapid advances in pursuit of nuclear-armed missiles capable of hitting the United States raised fears of a fresh conflict on the Korean peninsula. South Korea's Moon will greet Kim at the military demarcation line at 9:30 a.m. (0030 GMT), making Kim the first North Korean leader to set foot in the South since the 1950-53 Korean War. The two will be escorted by South Korean honour guards to an official welcoming ceremony before beginning official dialogue at 10:30 a.m. (0130 GMT) at Peace House, a South Korean building inside the border truce village of Panmunjom. North Korea's official KCNA news agency said Kim had left Pyongyang for the "historical" summit in which he would "open-heartedly discuss with Moon Jae-in all the issues arising in improving inter-Korean relations and achieving peace, prosperity and reunification of the Korean peninsula." In a dramatic gesture just days before the summit, Kim said North Korea would suspend nuclear and long-range missile tests and dismantle its only known nuclear test site. But scepticism is rampant about whether Kim is ready to abandon the hard-earned nuclear arsenal his country has defended and developed for decades as what it says is a necessary deterrent against U.S. invasion. South Korea hopes North Korea's leader on Friday will directly confirm his will for "complete" denuclearisation of the peninsula. The two neighbours expect to release a joint statement late on Friday - possibly called the Panmunjom Declaration - that could address denuclearisation and peace, and an improvement in relations, South Korean officials said. KCNA said that Kim would plant a memorial tree with Moon. UNENDING HOSTILITIES Impoverished North Korea and the rich, democratic South are technically still at war because the Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. The United States stations 28,500 troops in South Korea as a legacy of the Cold War conflict, which pitted the South, the United States and United Nations forces against the communist North, backed by China and Russia. On Thursday, Trump said he was considering three or four dates as well as five locations for his meeting with Kim Jong Un, although once again he added that it remained unclear whether the meeting will occur. Trump has said he expects to meet with Kim in May or June, but he has warned several times that the meeting could be called off if he did not think it could deliver the desired results. "It could be that I walk out quickly - with respect - but ... it could be that maybe the meeting doesn't even take place," he told Fox News by telephone. "Who knows. But I can tell you right now they want to meet." The White House later released two photographs of then Secretary of State-designate and CIA chief Mike Pompeo's meeting with Kim in North Korea over the Easter weekend to discuss the planned summit. It was Kim's first known meeting with a U.S. official. The photos show Kim and Pompeo, who was confirmed as secretary of state on Thursday, shaking hands. In one they faced each other looking serious; in the other they both appeared to wear faint smiles. https://bit.ly/2KfRHN3 Friday's inter-Korean summit will be the third ever after two former South Korean leaders, Kim Dae-jung in 2000 and Roh Moo-hyun in 2007, met with Kim Jong Un’s late father and predecessor, Kim Jong Il, in Pyongyang. The latest summit has particular significance not least because of its venue: the Demilitarised Zone, a 160-mile (260-km) long, 2.5-mile (4-km) wide strip of land created in the 1953 armistice to serve as a buffer between the South and North. With heavily armed soldiers and propaganda broadcasts blasted over loudspeakers from both sides, the DMZ has long been a symbol of hostilities on the divided peninsula. South Korea switched off its propaganda broadcasts on Monday to set a positive tone ahead of the summit, and South Korean residents living near the border said the North Korean broadcasts had also appeared to stop on Tuesday. South and North Korea are in discussions about a peace agreement that could officially end the state of war, an effort Trump said has his "blessing" if Pyongyang agreed to give up its nuclear arsenal. For the first time, key moments such as Kim crossing the border into the South, the two leaders shaking hands and walking to the Peace House for their talks, will be broadcast live. The summit includes a dinner where Swiss fried potato rosti, as well as chocolates, macarons and gruyere cheese cakes will be served as a homage to Kim's childhood spent in Switzerland. PRELUDE TO TRUMP SUMMIT Moon, who took office in May pledging to restore ties with the North and who has tirelessly called for dialogue, helped steer Kim and Trump toward meeting, a major coup for the liberal president. After dozens of missile launches last year, Kim embarked on a diplomatic offensive at the beginning of the year. Kim sent a delegation to the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February before Trump stunned the world by agreeing to meet Kim to discuss "denuclearisation" of the Korean peninsula. Now comes the hard part. The history of failed nuclear negotiations with Pyongyang has made many U.S. officials sceptical of Kim's true intentions and suspicious of his recent overtures as more of a bid to win relief from wide-ranging U.N. sanctions and to divide Washington and its allies. There is also concern that North Korea could insist on taking incremental steps in return for simultaneous incentives from Washington, the kind of a phased approach that U.S. officials have rejected. Unlike two previous inter-Korean summits, joint economic projects are not expected to be discussed, South Korean officials said. U.N. sanctions imposed since North Korea's first nuclear test in 2006 and expanded over the past decade deny North Korea a considerable amount of international trade. (Reporting by Soyoung Kim in SEOUL; Additional reporting by David Brunnstrom and Susan Heavey and Eric Beech in WASHINGTON; Editing by Lincoln Feast and James Dalgleish) -- © Copyright Reuters 2018-04-27
  4. Accused in broadcast assault may face attempted murder charge, say police By THE NATION A MAN hit with four criminal charges following his assault and humiliation of his 21-year-old girlfriend during a Facebook Live broadcast on Sunday might also be facing an attempted murder charge, national police deputy chief Pol General Weerachai Songmetta said yesterday. While visiting the woman at Nopparat Ratchathani Hospital, Weerachai was told that her boyfriend Chaichana Sirichart, the 26-year-old administrator of a currency market or forex (FX) investment-teaching web page, had also inflicted a knife wound to her throat in Sunday’s attack. Hospital director Dr Somboon Thossaboworn said the victim’s injuries included a swollen face, broken nose, knife wound to the throat, broken right arm, broken left small finger, along with burn wounds and bruises all over her body (including some traces of old wounds) which was believed to come from eight hours of torture before she was finally rescued. Given the injuries, Weerachai said a previously-filed assault charge would become a charge of aggravated assault leading to serious injury, punishable by six months to 10 years in prison. The other three already-filed charges would remain the same: illegal detention, violating the computer crime act by inputting images of another person causing her humiliation, and taking methamphetamine. The woman claims Chaichana attacked her six times throughout their eight-month relationship. Weerachai said Chaichana, undre the influence of illegal drugs, might have hallucinated about the woman’s alleged infidelity. Meanwhile, Metropolitan Police Area 4 chief Pol Maj-General Theerapong Wongratpitak, who briefly questioned Chaichana at Bung Kum police station, said many people had each paid him Bt15,000 for an FX trading course but had never received tuition and could soon file complaints against him. Chaichana tearfully expressed his remorse, saying he wanted to apologise to the victim’s parents and wouldn’t have attacked the girlfriend, whom he still loved, if he could turn back time. He claimed he attacked her under the influence of drugs, stress and rage over a dispute over Bt6 million cash plus his accusation that she had affairs with other men. This contradicted the information given by a source among the victim’s relatives, who refuted speculation on social media that a Bt40 million stock sale might have been at the root of the attack. The source said this was not true because the victim’s family still supported her expenses and tuition, adding that the woman had told them she wanted to leave Chaichana but they talked her out of it, as they thought he was a good man. Meanwhile, deputy national police spokesman Colonel Krissana Pattanacharoen said that committing a public humiliation is punishable by up to one year in prison and/or up to a Bt20,000 fine, while defamation via social media is punishable by up to two years in prison or a maximum fine of Bt200,000. He urged people who came across domestic abuse to call 191 to report the incident immediately so police could act speedily to rescue victims. On Sunday at 7pm, police responding to a complaint went to a condominium in Nawamin area, where they found Chaichana – who police said appeared high on meth – and negotiated until he released the battered woman. The suspect, nabbed after two hours of negotiations, admitted to having used drugs and said he attacked the victim out of jealousy, police said. Meanwhile, well-known human rights activist Angkhana Neelaphaijit posted on her Facebook, citing this case as what the #MeToo global social-media movement against sexual harassment and assault was trying to curb. She said this assault and live broadcast signified that the gender-based violence in Thai society was getting worse. She added that in cases of terrorising and humiliating, the victim was often painted as having done something to deserve such treatment. Angkhana urged society to be responsible and solve this “structural violence” social issue which is too often considered a personal matter in which the victims are left to face the violence alone. She said that jealousy must not be used as a justification to assault women. She said the sexual violence must not be a negotiable offence, drug abuse must not be an excuse for violence and police must punish wrongdoers. Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30343799 -- © Copyright The Nation 2018-04-24