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Posts tagged ‘Thailand’

FBI Joins Possible Terror Probe for Missing Malaysia Jet.


Vietnamese authorities searching waters for the missing Boeing 777 jetliner spotted an object Sunday that they suspected was one of the plane’s doors, as international intelligence agencies joined the investigation into two passengers who boarded the aircraft with stolen passports.

More than a day and half after Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 went missing, no confirmed debris from the plane had been found, and the final minutes before it disappeared remained a mystery. The plane, which was carrying 239 people, lost contact with ground controllers somewhere between Malaysia and Vietnam after leaving Kuala Lumpur early Saturday morning for Beijing.

The state-run Thanh Nien newspaper cited Lt. Gen. Vo Van Tuan, deputy chief of staff of Vietnam’s army, as saying searchers in a low-flying plane had spotted an object suspected of being a door from the missing jet. It was found in waters about 90 kilometers (56 miles) south of Tho Chu island, in the same area where oil slicks were spotted Saturday.

“From this object, hopefully (we) will find the missing plane,” Tuan said. Thanh Nien said two ships from the maritime police were heading to the site.

The missing plane apparently fell from the sky at cruising altitude in fine weather, and the pilots were either unable or had no time to send a distress signal — unusual circumstances under which a modern jetliner operated by a professional airline would crash.

Malaysia’s air force chief, Rodzali Daud, said radar indicated that the plane may have turned back, but did not give further details on which direction it went or how far it veered off course.

“We are trying to make sense of this,” Daud said at a news conference. “The military radar indicated that the aircraft may have made a turn back, and in some parts this was corroborated by civilian radar.”

Malaysia Airlines Chief Executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said pilots are supposed to inform the airline and traffic control authorities if the plane does a U-turn. “From what we have, there was no such distress signal or distress call per se, so we are equally puzzled,” he said.

Authorities were checking on the identities of the two passengers who boarded the plane with stolen passports. On Saturday, the foreign ministries in Italy and Austria said the names of two citizens listed on the flight’s manifest matched the names on two passports reported stolen in Thailand.

“I can confirm that we have the visuals of these two people on CCTV,” Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said at a news conference late Sunday, adding that the footage was being examined. “We have intelligence agencies, both local and international, on board.”

Hishammuddin declined to give further details, saying it may jeopardize the investigation.

“Our focus now is to find the aircraft,” he said, adding that finding the plane would make it easier for authorities to investigate any possible foul play.

Interpol confirmed that at least two stolen passports used by passengers on the plane were registered in its databases. It said no one had checked the databases, but added that most airlines and countries do not usually check for stolen passports.

Hishammuddin said only two passengers had used stolen passports, and that earlier reports that the identities of two others were under investigation were not true.

White House Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken said the U.S. was looking into the stolen passports, but that investigators had reached no conclusions.

In addition to the plane’s sudden disappearance, which experts say is consistent with a possible onboard explosion, the stolen passports have strengthened concerns about terrorism as a possible cause. Al-Qaida militants have used similar tactics to try and disguise their identities.

Still, other possible causes would seem just as likely at this stage, including a catastrophic failure of the plane’s engines, extreme turbulence, or pilot error or even suicide. Establishing what happened with any certainty will need data from flight recorders and a detailed examination of any debris, something that will take months if not years.

European authorities on Saturday confirmed the names and nationalities of the two stolen passports: One was an Italian-issued document bearing the name Luigi Maraldi, the other Austrian under the name Christian Kozel. Police in Thailand said Maraldi’s passport was stolen on the island of Phuket last July.

A telephone operator on a China-based KLM hotline on Sunday confirmed that “Maraldi” and “Kozel” were both booked to leave Beijing on a KLM flight to Amsterdam on March 8. Maraldi was then to fly to Copenhagen, Denmark, on KLM on March 8, and Kozel to Frankfurt, Germany, on March 8.

She said since the pair booked the tickets through China Southern Airlines, she had no information on where they bought them.

Having onward reservations to Europe from Beijing would have meant the pair, as holders of EU passports, would not have needed visas for China.

Meanwhile, the multinational search for the missing plane was continuing. A total of 34 aircraft and 40 ships have been deployed to the area by Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, China and the United States, in addition to Vietnam’s fleet.

Vietnamese air force jets spotted two large oil slicks Saturday, but it was unclear whether they were linked to the missing plane.

Two-thirds of the jet’s passengers were Chinese. The rest were from elsewhere in Asia, North America and Europe.

After more than 30 hours without contact with the aircraft, Malaysia Airlines told family members they should “prepare themselves for the worst,” Hugh Dunleavy, the commercial director for the airline, told reporters.

Finding traces of an aircraft that disappears over sea can take days or longer, even with a sustained search effort. Depending on the circumstances of the crash, wreckage can be scattered over many square kilometers (miles). If the plane enters the water before breaking up, there can be relatively little debris.

A team of American experts was en route to Asia to be ready to assist in the investigation into the crash. The team includes accident investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board, as well as technical experts from the Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing, the safety board said in a statement.

Malaysia Airlines has a good safety record, as does the 777, which had not had a fatal crash in its 19-year history until an Asiana Airlines plane crashed last July in San Francisco, killing three passengers, all Chinese teenagers.

© AFP 2014
Source: Newsmax.com

Study: Government Restrictions, Social Hostility Rise Against Religion.


Government restrictions on religion and social hostilities involving religion are on the rise around the world, a new study from the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life disclosed.

Social hostilities include “abuse of religious minorities by private individuals or groups in society for acts perceived as offensive or threatening to the majority faith of the country,” according to Pew.

Social hostilities in a third of the 198 countries or territories surveyed were viewed as high or very high, with acts of religious violence rising everywhere in the world except the Americas, Pew noted in its study, which covered the six years from 2007 to 2012.

“We monitor this in two ways that religious freedom is restricted — actions of government and actions of individual groups of society,” the study’s lead author Brian Grim told Newsmax. “We’ve seen a steady climb overall. It’s a global phenomenon.

“There’s an association between social hostilities and government restrictions. As one goes up, the other goes up. And that may be part of what is going on,” said Grim, president of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation in Annapolis, Md.

Among the Pew study’s key findings:
• The number of countries with religion-related terrorist violence has doubled over the past six years.

• Women were harassed because of religious dress in nearly a third of countries in 2012 (32 percent), up from 25 percent in 2011 and 7 percent in 2007.

• The Middle East and North Africa were the most common regions for sectarian violence, with half of all countries in the regions seeing conflicts in 2012.

• China, for the first time in the study, experienced a high level of social hostilities involving religion, with multiple types reported during 2012, including religion-related terrorism, harassment of women for religious dress, and mob violence.

• The number of countries with a very high level of religious hostilities increased from 14 in 2011 to 20 in 2012. Six countries — Syria, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand, and Myanmar (Burma) — had very high levels of religious hostilities in 2012 but not in 2011.

Raymond Ibrahim, a religious scholar and author who studies hostilities against Christians, said persecution of Christian minorities was rising across the Islamic world, as well as in North Korea and to a smaller extent in India and China.

Ibrahim said the U.S. culture’s embrace of tolerance makes it different from other places where religious traditions tend to discount other faiths as false.

“I think the historical position on religions is about truth. If I have the truth, you don’t. I don’t want your falsehoods to get out in the open. We in the West don’t appreciate this kind of logic and we take for granted the idea of religious tolerance,” Ibrahim said.

The difference between the United States and other countries around the world is that America has “many mechanisms to address religious freedom problems as they come up,” Grim noted, citing the Department of Justice’s special branch dedicated to reviewing discriminatory issues related to religious dress as well as land use problems involving churches and mosques.

In current hot zones of violence, like the Central African Republic and Nigeria, and across sub-Saharan Africa, “there’s a real trend toward major fighting and religious violence along this Christian-Muslim line,” said Eric Rassbach, deputy general counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

In Nigeria, “you have a largely Muslim north and a largely Christian south and extremist groups stoking tensions between the two and carrying out acts of violence,” Rassbach told Newsmax.

“I think what happens is those conflicts aren’t just limited to their own countries. What you are seeing is they end up resulting in inter-religious disagreements in other countries,” Rassbach said.

Ethnic and economic conflicts are also tied up in regional disputes, and those add to the mix of religious differences, he said.

“In other parts of the world, it tends to be government-driven, especially in more authoritarian governments. You tend to see a crackdown, so to speak,” noting the crackdown on Christian house churches in China.

In Pakistan, “the government doesn’t officially target religious groups, but the way it runs itself, it ends up essentially green-lighting inter-religious violence by individuals who can often act with impunity,” Rassbach said.

In the Middle East, “the Arab Spring has intensified a lot of previously quieter disputes,” many of which have spilled over to other countries within the region as governments have been destabilized. “I think, anecdotally, you can tell that the violence and resentment is going up. But I think it’s for different reasons in different places,” he said.

There also has been some hostility toward religion in the United States, Rassbach added. “I think a lot of it has been stoked by the government,” including “issues like the contraceptive mandate that we are litigating.”

“It used to be that everybody agreed that religious liberty was a good thing. Now you are starting to see people here opposed to religious liberty.

“I think it’s because of the politicization,” he said. “Some political actors have seen it as useful to pick fights with religious groups. That ends up stoking religious tensions.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Andrea Billups

Report: Meth Is Part of Everyday Life in North Korea.


North Korea’s government has reportedly gone out of the drug business, but savvy — or desperate — entrepreneurs are finding a ready market for methamphetamine both inside the country and around the globe.

Homemade meth from North Korea, known as “orum” or “ice,” has been found in 16 drug arrests in China since 2008 in quantities of up to 22 pounds, Harvard University researcher Sheena Chestnut Greitens told the Los Angeles Times.

“Meth is a product you can make in bathtubs or trailers. You have a wide range of people involved in production and trafficking,” Greitens said.

Because there’s so little stigma attached to its use in North Korea — people take it to treat colds, boost energy, keep them awake for work, or curb appetites in a country where food is scarce — methamphetamine is offered up as casually as a cup of tea, the newspaper reported.

“If you go to somebody’s house, it is a polite way to greet somebody by offering them a sniff,” Lee Saera, 43, of Hoeryong and interviewed in China, told the Times. “It is like drinking coffee when you’re sleepy, but ice is so much better.”

Government drug manufacturing operations ceased after 1999, and with analgesics hard to come by, North Korea has been relatively easy about homemade drugs and their use, the newspaper reported.

Park Kyung Ok, 44, also interviewed in China by the Times, said she became a meth dealer after a North Korean coal mine where she worked stopped paying salaries.

Buying grams of meth in Chongjin and selling it in her nearby hometown of Hoeryong, she told the Times she earned “just enough money that I could buy rice to eat and coal for heating.”

It’s also tailor-made for dealers who cook the drug in kitchen labs, “Breaking Bad”-style, then sell it to be exported by smugglers, the Times reported.

Late last year, five alleged drug smugglers were extradited from Thailand to the United States to face charges of smuggling 220 pounds of crystal meth. They told a federal court in New York last month that the drug originated in North Korea, the Times said.

When the North Korean government controlled the business, the drugs were strictly for export, the Times reported. But since individuals took over the business, meth began showing up on the streets in North Korea around 2005. The drug came from Hamhung, the onetime center of the nation’s pharmaceutical and chemical industry, the Times reported.

“North Korean people learn fast to reuse their skills,” Kim Yong Chol, 58, a truck driver who fled North Korea in August, told the newspaper.

It is unclear how serious the North Korean government is about cracking down on the drug trade, the Times reported.

“If you are caught once or twice, with only a small amount like me, you can get away with it if you have connections. But a third time, you will be in real trouble,” Park told the Times. “I was doing bad things because everybody else was doing bad things.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Cathy Burke

Ted Baehr: Rihanna Is Perpetrating Human Sex Trafficking.


 

Rihanna
Rihanna‘s tweets about her activity in Thailand have prompted three arrests. (Reuters/Charles Platiau )

On Sept. 20, Rihanna tweeted to some 32 million followers about a female performer from an illegal sex show she attended in Phuket, Thailand. Thai officials say they used Rihanna’s tweets to help lead them to the arrest of the club’s owner.

Christian Film & Television Commission founder Ted Baehr says many times the female performers are abused and that Rihanna’s tweet should cause outrage.

“Most times these female performers are held in captivity against their will, and most are sold into slavery at young ages and don’t live past the age of 20 because of working conditions and highly-addictive drugs used to keep them in slavery,” he says.

This was the third time Rihanna’s tweets have resulted in an arrest by Thai police in just three weeks. Two other men were arrested last month after the singer posted a photo of herself and a slow loris, which is a protected primate, on Instagram and Twitter.

According to the FBI, child pornography is the fastest-growing segment of America’s $13 billion porn industry, generating more revenue than the NFL, according to Cedars Cultural and Education Foundation, an entity committed to protecting women and children from trafficking and abduction.

“The numbers show supply and demand. When there is a disregard for the value of human life as a cultural worldview, we will see a rise in crime as the result,” explains Baehr.

While many celebrities—including Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streep and Salma Hayek—are advocates of protecting, empowering and educating women around the world, Baehr says it is discouraging that Rihanna is supporting the international sex trade.

The only outrage about Rihanna’s recent behavior is from animal activists around the world about the misuse of exotic animals.

“It’s not a victimless crime,” Baehr soberly states. “And in this case, Rihanna is the perpetrator.”

Movieguide has found from years of research and analysis in mass media that celebrities have a direct effect on the culture and behavior of American youth.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

Thai police seize methamphetamine pills haul worth $6m.


Thai policemen guard bags of methamphetamine pillsThe Golden Triangle has seen a surge in methamphetamine in the past decade

Police in Thailand say they have seized methamphetamine pills worth almost $6m (4.5m euros, £3.8m) thought to be en route to the capital Bangkok.

The haul of nearly one million pills was discovered at a checkpoint in northern Chiang Rai province in the Golden Triangle region.

Packs of the drug, also known as crystal meth, were hidden in the roof of a pick-up truck.

The Golden Triangle is notorious for drug smuggling, particularly of opium.

Deputy provincial police chief Virat Sumanaphan told AFP news agency that the seized drugs had an estimated value of up to $6 (4.50 euros, £3.8) per pill.

Three men and a woman, all from neighbouring Chiang Mai province, were arrested on suspicion of drug smuggling.

Source: NEWS ASIA.

Prayer That Shakes the Earth.


woman praying earnestly
(http://www.istockphoto.com)

The Lord is positioning His church to become people of action who will advance the kingdom of God. We are Christ’s ambassadors; we are called to represent His rule. Wherever we are, the kingdom of God is also.

First Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light” (NIV).

Investigating this Scripture, we will discover that the Greek word for belongingperipoiesin, when used here, carries the following meaning:

  • A set apart nation
  • A people consecrated for God’s own possession
  • A consecrated class of people
  • A purchased people
  • An acquired people
  • A people for purpose
  • A people for action

God has chosen, purchased, acquired, consecrated and set us apart in order for us to move forward in purpose and action, completely trusting in the Lord and knowing we cannot do anything in and of ourselves. God not only wants us to walk in an intimate, personal relationship with Him, but from this place we are to also move forward with the mentality of standing in the earth for Him and advancing the kingdom of God. He is calling us to hear His plans and purposes, to get in there with Him and to effect change.

As Christ’s kingdom representatives, we are also representational. We are to establish a righteous paradigm in our areas of influence.

We serve an awesome God, who has made available to us favor, creativity, power, wisdom, strategies and all we need to cause the lost world to be drawn to Him and cultures to be transformed. No matter where we are placed—in our homes, neighborhoods, businesses and churches, God has equipped and anointed us for our assignments. What a powerful inheritance we possess!

The Measure of Rule 

The Lord allots to His children special territories or assignments, wherein we have a physical presence and spiritual authority. For some of us, the territory might be an area such as the inner city, our neighborhoods or the marketplace. Some may be placed in professional leadership roles in businesses, schools, churches and governments. Others find their territories are people groups and the nations of the world.

There are some who carry a passion for youth and others, a strong desire to set captives free. Some may carry burdens in prayer. It is possible to have certain assignments for specific seasons and, as we grow with God, we’ll discover that our areas of influence and spiritual authority are increased.

Paul describes this principle in 2 Corinthians 10:13: “We will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you” (KJV).

The Greek word for measure is metron, meaning to “cut out an area or distance with a measurer’s reed or rule.” It refers to the size of one’s area of authority. Kanon, the Greek word for rule, refers to “a field of activity.” Here it means the power one has within a particular territory.

The Greek word merizo, translated distribute, carries the meaning of “a portion or share.” In putting these concepts together, Paul explains that the Lord assigns specific areas for each of His children in which we can move with power to make known the kingdom of God.

Paul’s measure of rule was to the gentile nations. As kingdom ambassadors, we, too, are to establish a physical presence. To be influential, we cannot remain hidden. We must build trusting relationships with others. We are to become praying people of our word, who reflect the love of Jesus and walk in integrity, character, obedience and humility.

Responsibility of Relationship 

As a young mother, I taught piano lessons in our home. Understanding this was a territory entrusted to me by God, I prayed that He would bring me students who needed a revelation of the love of Jesus.

I received a phone call from Susie, a 16-year-old girl, originally from Thailand. The Lord told me she had a powerful call on her life. I was to give her lessons and intercede for her salvation.

Before each lesson, I spent time in focused intercession for Susie’s salvation. She was placed in my measure of rule, and it was my responsibility to see her brought into the kingdom of God.

I did not preach or force my beliefs on her. I reached out in love and built a relationship based on trust. One afternoon in the middle of a piece of music, Susie suddenly stopped. “Miss Becca, can I ask you a question?” she said.

“Of course,” I replied.

“You are a Christian, right?”

“Yes, I am. Why do you ask?”

She said, “I have Christian friends in my high school who talk to me about Jesus. I am curious to know Him, but my family worships Buddha. I know he is a false and powerless god. I do not want a religion focused on the worship of a false god. I must know that Jesus is real before I commit to follow Him.”

“Susie,” I said, “Jesus is the Savior of the world. He wants to reveal Himself to you. Do you have a need in your life? We can pray and ask Jesus to help you. He will answer our prayer, and you will know He is the one true God.”

She replied, “I do have a need. I lost my glasses two weeks ago. My parents were mad at me because of the expense to replace them. Yesterday, I lost my new pair of glasses! I am afraid to tell my parents. Can we pray that I find my new pair before my parents realize I lost them?”

“Absolutely,” I responded.

We prayed asking the Lord to help Susie find her glasses.

The following week, Susie arrived for her lesson beaming with excitement. She quickly exclaimed, “The day after we prayed I went to school. After English class, my teacher called me to her desk and opened a drawer. She pulled out the first pair of glasses I had lost!

“That afternoon, the bus driver handed me the new pair of glasses my parents just bought for me! Not only did Jesus help me find my new pair of glasses, He also found my first pair. I know He is the one true God. Please lead me to Him.”

We both wept tears of joy as Susie received Jesus as her Savior.

Susie began to experience a hunger for the Word of God. A Bible was purchased for her, and we would spend the first portion of her class working on piano lessons and the last portion learning about God.

Her Buddhist parents would have forbidden her to read the Bible, so she stayed up late at night, reading the Scriptures in bed under her sheets with a flashlight. During this time, the Lord began to give her an intercessory burden for her parents and family members in Thailand, who were trapped in the worship of Buddha.

One day Susie explained a difficult situation to me. Her parents were requiring her to go to the Buddhist temple to pray to Buddha and receive a blessing from the monk. She didn’t want to go but was given no choice. We asked the Lord to work mightily on her behalf.

The day arrived for her blessing from the monk. After her parents prayed to Buddha, a monk approached the family for the blessing, but as he reached out to touch Susie’s shoulder, he hesitated.

When he attempted to put his hand on her shoulder again, it was as if something hindered him from touching her. He bowed, as if to acknowledge the power within Susie, and then he left.

God performed that miracle. And in doing so, He showed Susie the authority she carried in her measure of rule.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

REBECCA GREENWOOD

 

Newsmax Exclusive: NPR Host Likens Chick-fil-A to Hitler.


A publicly funded radio host likened Chick-fil-A to Adolf Hitler Saturday in a warped attempt at humor.

Peter Sagal, host of NPR’s “Wait, Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me,” made the off-color remark during the weekly news quiz’s “Lightning Fill in the Blank” segment.

Story continues below video.

He asked guest Amy Dickinson: “KFC is considering suing a restaurant in Thailand for using its logo and replacing Col. Sanders with blank?” The advice columnist guessed the Buddha, but the correct answer was Hitler.

Dickinson gasped when she heard about the true story. However Sagal, who is Jewish, continued. “Yum Brands which owns KFC was pretty ticked off when it noticed the Hitler restaurant in Bangkok was using the Col. Sanders logo with Hitler’s head Photoshopped in.

“Yum Brands is planning legal action,” continued Sagal. “But the owners of the Hitler restaurant say they are very sorry for insulting a chicken restaurant by associating it with a symbol of intolerance — and next time they will just go with Chick-fil-A.”

Sagal was referring to last year’s controversy when Chick-fil-A’s president Dan Cathy came out against gay marriage, saying “We are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.'”

It was later revealed that the company’s foundation had donated heavily to groups opposing same sex unions.

The amount that NPR receives from the taxpayer has long been a subject of debate. The broadcaster says it receives only around 3 percent of its budget direct from the federal government, however, according to The Wall Street Journal a 2010 study by The American Thinker‘s Mark Browning found that the figure in direct and indirect payments from the public purse could be as high as 25 percent. At the time the total annual NPR budget was put at $166 million.

“Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me” is a joint production of NPR and WBEZ, a public radio station in Chicago.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Martin Gould

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