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« Απάντηση #30 στις: Οκτώβριος 05, 2013, 16:15:26 μμ »
Tokyo by surprise.
================

Japan is currently on a high from winning the bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. This was evident from the mood at last month’s Japan Association of Travel Agents’ TABIHAKU Travel Showcase, which took place in Tokyo from September 12 to 15. Since I was invited to TABIHAKU Travel Showcase as media and speaker, there was no time to be idle even when I was supposed to have been asleep. This is not a complaint, by any means. I know that this is the nature of the job. It entails the perpetual sense of always being on the go.

So, when the opportunity to take a pause came as happenstance on my last day at TABIHAKU Travel Showcase, I took it as a much-needed down time. Consequently, it produced my only chance at a destination piece for this trip to Tokyo since I missed the familiarization trip that I was scheduled to be on in order to prepare for my presentation as a member of the media panel discussion.

Tokyo is undoubtedly one of busiest cities in the world. People come to Tokyo for the allure and mystery of partaking in an organized chaos. People come to enjoy the crowd and the busy streets. Judging by the movement of the large crowd that exited Tokyo BigSight, the venue of JATA’s travel show, on that early evening of September 14, 2013, they were all headed towards the same place--the nearest train station. I surmise this is true for all of the city during the so-called rush hour. Having been on a multi-city journey covering three continents in the last four weeks, playing squeeze-me-in-a-train-during-rush-hour was not something I was keen on partaking, thanks to the brilliance of one Adrian Mangiboyat, who was the liaison between JATA and the invited foreign journalists, I got acquainted with “Tokyo by Surprise.”

A few steps away from Tokyo BigSight is a ferry dock. Adrian decided to go back to our host hotel, Prince Hotel in the Shinagawa area, through what he simply described as a “more scenic route.” I am ever so glad he had such foresight because the experience was the exact opposite of how it would have been had we gotten on the train. This was not an instantaneous realization, however. It unfolded rather slowly, albeit the journey commencing with a musical treat of loud singing and banging drums. I enjoyed the musical treat performed by Japanese “pirates” in Samurai outfits, but I ended up wandering about the ship. As a result, I found myself gazing at a city that look unfamiliar at first but soon revealed itself as a city I have been to before. In my solitude for most of the hour-long ride, I was introduced to a version of Tokyo that seemed like an enchanted land with specks of colorful dusts hovering all over it. Literally.

The ship I shall refer to as “Tokyo by Surprise” was the calm before the storm (of commencing a two-day air travel), the culmination of a trip that can only be described as fitting both under the billings “wonderful” and “tumultuous.” It was the chance encounter that a worn out traveler desperately needs after a long journey. “Tokyo by Surprise” literally took me by surprise. It took me out to sea, then twisted and turned in perfect timing allowing me to revel on the beauty of Tokyo’s skyline at night. It was a romantic voyage made even more whimsical by the Olympic Games colors, illuminated all over the city, to commemorate the city’s winning bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games. The seemingly an optical illusion effect was most dramatic on high-rise buildings and structures, as you can imagine it would be from the vantage point of a passing ship. Every moment warranted a picture. So, I took them. The result? I have a collection of a few pictures that are alike but, in truth, aren’t as they were taken at different times. I snapped as many pictures as I could and simultaneously took moments of doing nothing but admire the sight that was beckoning my eyes. I had a moment, a much-needed one.

Click here to view the raw pictures I took on “Tokyo by Surprise.” Notice the progression from the obligatory picture-taking in the beginning to the manic camera-clicking towards the end.

JATA’s event attracted its biggest audience yet--131,058 visitors to Tokyo BigSight, topping the previous record of 125,989 set in 2012. It also set a new high of 1,353 booths representing 730 businesses and organizations (new record) from 154 countries and regions.

2020 OLYMPICS EAST ASIA JAPAN JATA ORGANIZED CHAOS TABIHAKU TOKYO

source: eturbonews.
This is Asia .-

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« Απάντηση #31 στις: Ιούλιος 14, 2015, 16:33:12 μμ »
This Is the New Sex Tourism Destination

It took a bit of time for Mark, a 65-year-old retiree from London, to understand why so many middle-aged white men were hanging out alone in the sad-looking bar of his hotel in Vientiane, Laos, when he visited in 2013.
Then he saw all the local young women loitering nearby.
And that’s when Mark realized that, unlike him, those dudes hadn’t come to Laos for its stunning 16th-century temples or spectacular waterfalls.

Tourism is taking a turn for the torrid in Laos — and the once isolated country has a host of rivals that stretches all the way to Myanmar and Bangladesh.
While none of these countries are exactly contending for the dubious mantle of sex tourism capital, they’re all finding opportunity, of sorts, as Thailand’s government cracks down on its own world-famous sex industry.
Lured by tourism’s economic promise but lacking the wherewithal to prevent sex trafficking and other abuses, many of these countries are in a difficult spot, experts say.
Myanmar, for instance, recently denied entry to several known transnational child sex offenders, but scores of others get through easily.

“For some sex offenders, finding new destinations and unsuspecting locals is part of the appeal,” says Karen Flanagan, manager of the child-protection unit at Save the Children.
Indeed, one need spend only a few minutes in the seedier quarters of the Internet to see that the industry is charting new territory.
“Burma is the new flavor of the month,” writes a man who calls himself Alejandro. “It seems everyone is wanting a slice of the [new] cake,” agrees Pak2F. “I think Lao women are so fine!” says Sam.

Even when it’s not on the books, sex work can become a vital part of the economy.

The backdrop to this is tourism’s rapid growth in these countries. If part of the sex tourism thrill is “finding new destinations,” these Southeast Asian countries, once closed to the world, fit the bill.
Only a few years ago, hardly anyone could get a tourist visa to Myanmar; this year, the country expects to welcome more than 3 million tourists.
In Communist Laos, foreign visitors already generate 12 percent of the gross domestic product, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council, and though Bangladesh has never been as isolated as either of those countries, it is nowadays investing heavily in tourism: Its contribution to the economy has quadrupled since 2012.

And make no mistake: Even when it’s not on the books, sex work can become a vital part of the economy.
In the mid-1990s, well before its peak, sex tourism contributed as much as $27 billion to Thailand’s GDP, according to the International Labor Organization.
Not all of that went to the prostitutes, of course; it also benefited hotels, corrupt cops, restaurants, tourist agencies, beer gardens, saunas, cabarets and, of course, health clinics. (In Bangkok, some 19 percent of freelance sex workers had HIV in 2007.)
Today, some of the new sex tourists are well aware of their role in the economy. One young American, who visited the Philippines and spent about $50 a night to be with a girl, made himself sound like an agent of social good, since “the sex is consensual and there is no abuse, human trafficking or drugs involved.”

But in many of the new destinations, human trafficking, drugs and abuse are often involved — as are child exploitation and sexually transmitted diseases.
Thailand’s crackdown began mostly out of concern for public health, after all, and only when STDs reached epic proportions. Tourism today presents new challenges.
Even supposedly do-gooder ventures, like voluntourism and orphanage tourism, “present a new risk of sexual exploitation for vulnerable children,” says Dorine van der Keur, an expert on child sex abuse and tourism at the nonprofit ECPAT International. Meanwhile, the Internet is making it easier to bypass the police.
On a site filled with pictures of supposed Bangladeshi prostitutes, “Jono” asks, “How much for street pros in Dhaka 2015?” and an entrepreneurial local under the name “Playboy Dark spider” promptly offers to arrange an escort for $60.

The governments of these developing countries have little ability to track down men like Jono.
Tourism ministries did not respond to requests for comment, but experts say enforcing laws against prostitution has been difficult enough; busting up trafficking networks would be a dream.
So how can these up-and-coming destinations reap tourism’s benefits without suffering the costs, human and otherwise, of exploitation?
Some believe the best option would not be a Thai-style crackdown but to legalize the sex trade and then strictly monitor it, as do Amsterdam and Singapore. Keeping the sex trade in the dark allows it to flourish, according to Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division.
And with the sex trade in the dark, “governments in the region are only ensuring that it becomes more difficult for sex workers to assert their rights,” he adds.

Yet even legalization doesn’t tackle the root of the problem: demand. That’s why many charities insist prevention is the only long-term solution.
And in the eyes of Flanagan and Save the Children, salvation will come only by teaching men respect for women around the world. “Otherwise, the problem will just keep jumping from country to country,” Flanagan says.
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« Απάντηση #32 στις: Νοέμβριος 21, 2015, 09:16:39 πμ »
27th ASEAN SUMMIT

Friday 20 November 2015


Members of the military and police patrol outside the venue for the 27th ASEAN summit in Kuala Lumpur. Security has been stepped up follow attacks by Islamic State in Paris.

Malaysian police report warns of suicide bombers ahead of Asean summit

Police chief says threats unverified following leaked memo warning Islamic State and regional ally Abu Sayyaf have 10 suicide bombers in Kuala Lumpur

A leaked Malaysian police report warns there are 10 suicide bombers in Kuala Lumpur, where the country will host the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit this weekend.

Malaysia’s police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said the memo was authentic but warned the intelligence was not verified.

“There have been reports of imminent terrorist threats in Malaysia,” he said in a statement.

“At this point, I would like to underline that they have yet to be confirmed.”

World leaders, including US President Barack Obama and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, are arriving in Kuala Lumpur this weekend, and at least 2,000 army personnel are being deployed around the capital, Malaysian military forces said.

Police chief Khalid said attacks in France, Egypt, Lebanon, and the Philippines merited increased security for the two-day summit for 18 world leaders.

“The Royal Malaysian Police have intensified the existing comprehensive security arrangement for the Asean and related summits in Kuala Lumpur,” he said.

“Security checks at all entry and exit pointed to Malaysia have been stepped up.”

Local news website Malaysiakini reported on the circular, which detailed a meeting on Sunday between Islamic State and Philippines insurgent groups Abu Sayyaf and the Moro National Liberation Front.

The police memo said the meeting, held in southern Philippines, was attended by “14 leaders from the three outfits and 50 members of Abu Sayyaf armed with M16 rifles, pistols and bombs.”

It said that Islamic State and Abu Sayyaf have eight suicide bomber in Sabah, Malaysia’s western state, and 10 in Kuala Lumpur.

“These suicide bombers underwent military training in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as prepared to receive orders from their leaders to launch attacks/bombings,” Malaysiakini quoted the circular as saying.

Federal Police Special Branch Director Fuzi Harun said the internal directive was to alert his staff.

“It is an information that we received but we don’t have a clearer information ... It may be true or false, but action is still taken,” he told Malaysia’s state-news agency Bernama.

“We will pass on this information to our ground units for any action,” he said.

The Asean meeting follows the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in neighbouring Philippines, where China’s territorial disputes over the South China Sea was a key issue.

Obama, who opposes Beijing’s claims to coral reefs and islands in the stretch of water, said that a US “pivot” to Asia remains a core policy.

Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei all have overlapping claims with China in the South China Sea, where more than $4.5 trillion in sea trade passes each year.

In talks with Philippine President Benigno Aquino, Obama demanded China end its land reclamation work, turning reefs in the South China Sea into islands using dredged sand from the sea floor.



the quardian


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Be Careful What You Buy – Plastic Rice Is Spreading Across Asia
« Απάντηση #33 στις: Νοέμβριος 21, 2015, 10:52:55 πμ »
There have been news about artificial eggs coming from China, and now we have news of fake rice which showed on the social media platforms and it is believed that the rice reached Singapore.
This product is sold in the Chinese markets and found its way in some Asian countries like India, Vietnam, and Indonesia.
According to consumers, this plastic rice can be found in many well-known brands and many consumers actually have reported that plastic rice causes gastritis and different stomach related diseases after its consummation.
It is being mixed with normal rice and for that reason it cannot be detected.
This resin coated rice can lead to serious damage on the digestive system.
It is made of a mixture that consists of sweet potatoes, synthetic resin, and regular potatoes.
The bad news is that it looks just like a natural rice.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vT3JTUCaB_4

This has been denied by the Agro-based Industry ministry and Malaysian Agriculture.
Nevertheless, if the fake rice found its way in Malaysia, then it is most probably bought in small shops rather than in large supermarkets as the hoax has been circulating on Taiyuan Shaanxi’s markets.

But how can we avoid buying such rice? Its appearance is hardly noticeable when uncooked as it is identical to the natural rice, but once it is cooked, the fake rice remains in hard form.
So if you use it to make a soup, it will form a noticeable plastic sheath which if you set it on fire, it will burn as it was plain plastic.
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« Απάντηση #34 στις: Ιανουάριος 20, 2017, 10:05:28 πμ »
"ASEAN's most wanted drug lord" taken down at Bangkok airport



BANGKOK: Friday, 20 January 2017

A Laotian man that Thai police say is the region's most wanted drug lord was arrested at Suvarabhumi airport yesterday.

Chaichana Kaewphimpha, 41, was apprehended by a force of 100 drugs suppression officers and police as he attempted to leave the departure lounge after returning from a trip to Phuket.

Also arrested were a male friend and two females in his party.

Sommai Kongwisaisuk of the drugs suppression division said it had taken five years for the cops to get their hands on the kingpin who is the most wanted drugs dealer in ASEAN.

Sommai said that he is the figure behind 50 other arrests of drug mules in cases totally the importation into Thailand of 5 million Ya Ba tablets.

He is in the same league as Thai muslim drug lord Usaman operating in the southern border provinces and Laotam Saenlee who was arrested in the far north along with many family members last year.

Sommai said that no one had managed to get near the suspect before and that he was a master at avoiding detection and capture.

The suspect has no known convictions for drugs.

He is believed to have entered Thailand in a border crossing in the north east before taking a holiday in Phuket.

There is expected to be a press conference about the capture in which more details will be given.

http://www.dailynews.co.th/regional/550124

« Τελευταία τροποποίηση: Ιανουάριος 20, 2017, 10:13:40 πμ από halfway inn »
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« Απάντηση #35 στις: Φεβρουάριος 07, 2017, 15:56:55 μμ »
Senior immigration officers named in Xaysana case

07 Feb. 2017



Two senior immigration police officers have been transferred to inactive posts pending an investigation for suspected involvement in the drug network of Lao drug kingpin Xaysana Keopimpha.

They are Pol Lt Walaisak Intarak, deputy chief of Loei immigration office, and Pol Capt Patarapol Thuaythong, deputy chief of the immigration office at Suvarnabhumi airport.

Pol Lt Walaisak was one of the three police officers who appeared in a picture with Mr Xaysana. The picture had been posted in the Lao social media.

Pol Maj Gen Patiphan Suban Na Ayutthaya, commander of the Immigration Police Division 4, said Pol Lt Walaisak had initially explained to him that the picture was taken about two years ago and was taken during a cross-border car rally.

The crossing point on the Thai side was Loei province.

Pol Lt Walaisak said he did not know Mr Xaysana was a drug dealer.

Pol Lt Walaisak has been transferred to the operations center of Immigration Police Division 4, pending the result of an investigation.

The other officer, Pol Capt Patarapol, has been similarly transferred to temporary duty at the operations center of the Immigration Police Bureau.

Pol Capt Patarapol is suspected of having contacted a member of the Xaysana drug network on the telephone to arrange for some of the drug gang's vehicles to be kept in a Suvarnabhumi airport car park building.

Pol Lt Gen Natthaporn Prohsunthorn, the Immigration Police commissioner, on Tuesday went to see Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda, the police chief, at the Royal Thai Police head office to discuss this matter.

He said he had ordered the chiefs of Immigration Police Divisions 2 and 4 to  set up committees to investigate the two officers. 

If found guilty as suspected, they would face both disciplinary and criminal action, he added.
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« Απάντηση #36 στις: Φεβρουάριος 09, 2017, 15:50:37 μμ »
China fingerprints all foreign visitors as security step

Thursday, 9 Feb 2017

BEIJING:
China is to begin taking fingerprints of all foreign visitors as it steps up security on its borders, the Ministry of Public Security said on Thursday.

Fingerprinting of foreigners will be introduced at Shenzhen airport in the south from Friday, and it will then be gradually rolled out at other entry points around the country, the ministry said in a statement.

All foreign passport holders aged 14-70 will have to give their fingerprints, it said, without saying if other bio metric data would also be collected.

The ministry said the regulation would strengthen immigration controls and increase efficiency.

The United States, Japan, Taiwan and Cambodia, among others, have similar requirements.

While Chinese border posts do not generally have overly onerous entry formalities, most visitors need a visa, though many cities have visa-free deals for visits of a few days as part of efforts to boost tourism.


Bangkok Post
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« Απάντηση #37 στις: Φεβρουάριος 26, 2017, 14:08:13 μμ »
Tracing the path of terror home

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Suspicious border activity and a pile of passport forgery cases could be linked to far-reaching militant networks


rock the boat: Traveling by boat can help bypass some Thai border authorities. The lax regulation at such borders has been cited as a factor in making Thailand an easy place for criminals to congregate.

The government has made clear its intention to make Thailand a Southeast Asian hub. Whether that means building a high-tech industry base or adopting leadership in aviation design, the idea of becoming a regional hub has been marketed with mass appeal.

However, the idea of the country as a "hub" does not necessarily denote a good thing.

Recent security reports have raised concerns about Thailand becoming a hub of another kind.

Reports obtained by the Bangkok Post reveal that several criminal suspects in Thailand have potential links to fighters belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) and Al-Qaeda, the multinational militant organization founded by Osama bin Laden.

The fear that follows is that Thailand could become  a new hub -- a meeting point -- for terror groups transiting in the region.

A further security agency says that Thailand is also being used as a base for producing counterfeit passports.

These passports can be used to more easily carry out a range of transnational crimes, from terrorism to human trafficking, as well as arms smuggling.

Suspicion about a "secret training base" near the border of Tak province's Mae Sot district also lingers.

A foreign intelligence agency found several illegal activities to be taking place in the area, including bomb making.

The findings prompted a security team to travel to Mae Sot to investigate.

There, in an area between Myanmar town Myawaddy and Mae Sot district, investigators found a space being used as an ostensible training ground.

The source did not elaborate on what led them to this impression, but it did lead the military to release a statement that it plans to launch a mission to "weed out" any militant activities seen as a threat to Thailand.


Bangkok post
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« Απάντηση #38 στις: Ιούνιος 05, 2017, 18:34:07 μμ »
U.S. army Pacific chief in Bangkok amid regional security concerns




Monday, 05 June 2017

BANGKOK (Reuters) - The head of the U.S. Army Pacific met his Thai counterpart in Bangkok on Monday, a rare top-level meeting between the old allies' militaries since the United States criticized a Thai military coup in 2014.

The visit to Thailand by General Robert B. Brown, who is also director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency in Seoul, comes as the United States looks to reassure allies about its commitment to the region.

Brown met General Chalermchai Sitthisart, commander of the Royal Thai Army, at the army's headquarters in Bangkok.

"The United States and Thailand have had a relationship since 1833 ... We have exchanged ideas, cooperated militarily," the Thai army said in a statement.

Neither of the two generals spoke to media following a military parade to welcome Brown.

Thailand is Washington's oldest ally in the region, but ties were strained by the 2014 military coup led by then-army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha that ousted an elected civilian government.

The United States scaled back some military exchanges with Thailand and Thailand responded by forging closer ties with Asian giant China.

But the United States and Thailand have continued to hold joint military exercises including the annual Cobra Gold exercises, Asia's largest multinational drill.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told a regional security conference in Singapore on the weekend that United States remained committed to its Asia-Pacific allies

 U.S. President Donald Trump's "America First" rhetoric and expectations that he would concentrate on a domestic agenda has stoked fears of a retreat from a traditional U.S. security role that has underpinned the region for decades.

Now the United States was reacting to China's growing ties with countries like Thailand and its neighbor, Cambodia, an analyst said.

"The Trump administration would like to re-balance military power in Asia, which has increasingly moved toward China, in an effort to reassert Washington's security influence," Paul Chambers from the College of ASEAN Community Studies at Naresuan University told Reuters.

Last month, Trump invited former army chief Prayuth, who now heads the military government as prime minister, to visit Washington.

(Reporting by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Robert Birsel)
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« Απάντηση #39 στις: Σεπτέμβριος 17, 2021, 12:42:04 μμ »
2021 OSCE ASIAN CONFERENCE

WHEN: 20 September 2021, 09:30 - 21 September 2021, 12:00
WHERE: Vienna and online (via Zoom)

ORGANIZED BY: The Kingdom of Thailand and the Republic of Albania as the 2021 Chair of the OSCE Asian Partners for Co-operation Group, with the support of the OSCE External Co-operation Section/OSCE Secretariat

The 2021 OSCE Asian Conference will focus on “Common responses to emerging challenges in advancing comprehensive security”.

The Kingdom of Thailand and the Republic of Albania will co-host the 2021 OSCE Asian Conference.
Held in a blended format, online via Zoom and in Hofburg/Vienna, the conference will focus on: “Common responses to emerging challenges in advancing comprehensive security”.
Participants will have the opportunity to discuss coordinated approaches for the strengthening of comprehensive security with a particular focus on the fight against transnational organized crime, sustainable development, and the nexus between human rights and public health.

The OSCE Asian Conferences constitute an annual forum for the 57 OSCE participating States and the Asian Partners for Co-operation (Afghanistan, Australia, Japan, Republic of Korea, and Thailand) to discuss and deliberate on security issues relevant to their long-standing partnership.

This year’s OSCE Asian Conference would be the 5th co-hosted by Thailand.

https://www.osce.org
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