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Posts Tagged ‘unrest’

UN pleads for end to Haiti unrest

In Uncategorized on November 20, 2010 at 8:42 am

Anti-UN unrest spreads to Haiti capital

In Uncategorized on November 19, 2010 at 3:27 am

China minister shrugs off labour unrest concerns

In Uncategorized on June 19, 2010 at 8:40 am

China’s commerce minister has shrugged off concerns that recent labour unrest in the so-called “workshop of the world” will scare investors away, state media reported Saturday.

Factories in run by foreign firms such as Toyota and Honda have recently been hit by a wave of labour unrest that has forced some companies to raise wages for their workers.

“A small proportion of the contracts may be transferred to countries with lower costs but China has yet to lose its labour cost advantage,” Chen Deming was quoted as saying by the official China Daily newspaper.

The unrest has sparked fears of a snowball effect that could signal the days of cheap Chinese labour are over for foreign investors, who might start transferring their manufacturing contracts to cheaper countries.

China’s commerce minister, Chen Deming (pictured in May), has shrugged off concerns that recent labour unrest in the so-called ‘workshop of the world’ will scare investors away, state media reported Saturday.

Chen told Hong Kong-based Pheonix TV that the recent strikes were “isolated cases”.

“We want to ensure workers get an appropriate wage increase but also want to pay attention to the capacity of enterprises to bear the burden (of rising personnel costs).”

Japan’s Toyota Motor, which became the latest company to be hit by strikes this week, said Friday its largest assembly plant in China had to be suspended due to work stoppages.

Honda has also been impacted. The firm offered a 24 percent pay rise to staff at its main parts factory to end a strike while employees at another plant have agreed to go back to work as wage talks continue.

And in response to 11 suicides among its Chinese work force, Taiwanese firm Foxconn — which counts Apple, Dell and Sony among its clients — doubled salaries.

Source: SGGP

Thailand ‘back’ after unrest, PM says on first overseas trip

In Uncategorized on June 6, 2010 at 10:18 am

HO CHI MINH CITY, June 6, 2010 (AFP) – Thailand is “back” after recent deadly unrest, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Sunday on his first trip abroad since the end of crippling anti-government protests.

“We are back, stable and secure,” he told the World Economic Forum on East Asia, a gathering of global business leaders and regional politicians.

Thai PM Abhisit Vejjajiva (L) speaks as Vietnamese PM Nguyen Tan Dung listens during the World Economic Forum on East Asia being held in Ho Chi Minh City on June 6, 2010. AFP PHOTO

Thai troops moved on May 19 against the fortified encampment which “Red Shirt” anti-government protesters had occupied in an upscale retail and hotel district of central Bangkok.

The move brought an end to street demonstrations and outbreaks of violence which, at their climax, turned parts of Bangkok into battlezones, left major buildings torched, and led to travel warnings from foreign governments.

Unrest also spread to the Reds’ stronghold in the impoverished northeast.

Eighty-nine people, mostly civilians, and nearly 1,900 were wounded in violent outbreaks during two months of protests.

Abhisit said he would not have been able to attend the World Economic Forum if it had been held two weeks earlier and his presence demonstrated that Thailand will “try to do our part in contributing to regional growth”.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), had earlier voiced relief that the violence had abated, following fears that it could threaten regional stability.

“Now that they have gone through that period, and stability seems to come back and reconciliation is now in progress… I think I can say that all ASEAN states heave a big sigh, that we are relieved,” secretary general Surin Pitsuwan told reporters on the sidelines of the forum.

In a rare statement about the internal affairs of a member state, ASEAN on May 21 said peace and stability in Thailand were crucial to the 10-member bloc.

The “Red Shirt” protesters, mostly urban and rural poor, were demanding an end to Abhisit’s government which they see as undemocratic.

Despite the optimistic tone he brought to the Vietnam forum, in his weekly television address at home on Sunday, he said it was too early to lift a two-month-old state of emergency in place across about one third of the country, including Bangkok, because of fears of fresh unrest.

“We have to accept that even though the situation seems to be more back to normal now, the problems of terrorism and security still exist,” Abhisit said in the television address.

Source: SGGP

Thai tourism plans comeback after unrest

In Uncategorized on May 26, 2010 at 1:22 pm

JAL halves flights to Bangkok due to unrest

In Uncategorized on May 18, 2010 at 9:07 am

TOKYO, May 18, 2010 (AFP) – Japan Airlines said Tuesday it will halve its weekly flights to Bangkok from June due to escalating violence in Thailand’s capital where anti-government protesters are clashing with the army.

In an illustration of the turmoil’s impact on tourism and the Thai economy, JAL said it will reduce by around half the frequency of its Osaka-Bangkok and Nagoya-Bangkok routes from June 1 for the entire month, a statement said.

JAL “strives to responsively adjust its capacity to match sudden changes in demand resulting from event risks that confront the airline industry, such as the current anti-government demonstrations in Bangkok,” it said.

The airline said it will reduce its scheduled flights departing from Osaka and Nagoya to Bangkok from 14 per week to seven during the month after the unrest caused passenger bookings to the city to drop.

The group said the unrest caused passenger bookings to the city to drop.

The Thai military Saturday declared one area of Bangkok a live fire zone as troops struggled to gain control in street battles.

The two-month crisis has left 67 people dead and about 1,700 wounded. Twenty-five people died in a failed army crackdown on April 10.

Source: SGGP

Thailand Tourism Devastated by Political Unrest

In Uncategorized on April 19, 2010 at 9:38 am

Thailand excels at throwing out the welcome mat for visitors. In the 50 years since the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Thai Airways were founded, the country has evolved from an obscure, barely visited Southeast Asian backwater to one of the developing world’s most expertly marketed travel destinations. It is, today, a magnet for jet-setters and backpackers alike, drawn by the carefully crafted image of a gentle land where the people are always smiling. The 13.5 million visitors in 2009 accounted for 6.5% of Thailand’s gross domestic product, reaffirming tourism as the country’s single largest foreign-exchange earner and a crucial component to its overall economic health.

Over the past week, however, Thailand’s gentle smile has become a grimace, and its welcome mat is stained with blood. On Saturday April 10, violence erupted between soldiers and anti-government protesters in Bangkok, leaving 24 dead and over 800 injured. No one is sure when and how the current political crisis will end. But the effect on tourism is expected to be devastating. Finance minister Korn Chatikavanij predicted that tourist arrivals will be “decimated,” and warned that the country could lose two percentage points off its projected 5% GDP growth for the year if order is not rapidly restored. The cost of the political turmoil has yet to be tallied, but more than 70 charter flights hauling tourists from China have been canceled. Federation of Thai Tourism Association President Charoen Wanganon told the Bangkok Post that hotel occupancy in Bangkok had dropped by at least 30% for this time of year.

For hotels near the protest sites, however, the occupancy rate is zero. “This hotel is closed,” said a black clad security guard from behind a red metal barrier in front of Bangkok’s posh Greek-columned Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel. “No one can check in. Only check out.” Nearby, at the luxurious Four Seasons, Buddhist monks who joined the protest have strung up clothes lines across the manicured entrance garden and are drying their freshly laundered saffron robes. Both hotels are situated near an intersection occupied by tens of thousands of anti-government protesters known as the Red Shirts for the color they wear. The intersection, called Rajaprasong, is the capital’s main commercial junction, home to six major shopping malls, several five-star hotels, office buildings housing many of Thailand‘s top local and international firms, and other businesses, most of which have completely shut down.

A Thai armed soldier takes up position on a walkway at the entrance to Silom road in the financial district of Bangkok.

Foreign faces on the streets are few – more than 40 countries have now issued travel advisories against coming to Bangkok – but the capital is hardly a ghost town. Not with as many as 30,000 protesters packing the streets at peak times. But with malls and department stores shuttered, sales figures are flat at Versace and Prada, while street vendors selling anti-government red T-shirts, bandanas, flags and hand clappers are raking it in. Ritzy restaurants and fast-food joints are closed while Red Shirts, many of them from the countryside, feast on papaya salad and other spicy northeastern dishes prepared in dozens of roadside kitchens and stalls that are part of the well-planned logistical support organized by protest leaders.

But if the protest atmosphere is at times festive, the mood in the tourism industry is grim. The Tourism Authority of Thailand and other government agencies put a massive effort into repairing the country’s image after a different group of protesters, called the Yellow Shirts for their chosen color, invaded and shut down Bangkok’s international airport for eight days in late 2008. That was followed by Red Shirt riots in Bangkok in April 2009. The government’s damage control campaign had appeared to be paying off, as foreign arrivals rose 17.5% year-on-year for March. But with the protests ongoing and the possibility of more violence still looming, those efforts now appear to be for naught. While most of the prime tourist destinations outside of the capital have not been affected, the specter of unrest and the increasing risks associated with visiting the country are threatening to relegate Thailand to a magnet solely for adventure travelers.

Source: SGGP

Thailand accuses Thaksin of stoking deadly unrest

In Uncategorized on April 13, 2010 at 9:37 am

The Thai government accused ousted former leader Thaksin Shinawatra of stoking deadly weekend unrest as pressure mounted Tuesday on the embattled prime minister over the crippling political crisis.

In an outspoken tirade in Washington, Thailand‘s Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya described Thaksin as a “terrorist” and directly blamed him for Saturday’s unrest in the streets of Bangkok that left 21 people dead.

“Everyone is washing their hands but he is a bloody terrorist,” Kasit said of Thaksin, likening him to past “elected” leaders such as Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Benito Mussolini.

He said Thaksin was an “instigator of the violence,” the bloodiest civil unrest in the kingdom in two decades, and said he was financing the Red Shirts “to the tune of about 100 million baht (about three million dollars) per day.”

Red Shirt supporters of the recent anti-government protests sleep on the ground near the site of the continueing rallies in central Bangkok, on April 13.

The international community is voicing increasing alarm over the political turmoil which turned deadly after a month of mass street protests by the “Red Shirts” seeking to oust Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

Thai deputy premier Trirong Suwannakiri, who was also in Washington, even warned that if the crisis raged out of control, the army could intervene.

The military has a duty to “take care of the country and restore order,” he said, cautioning that such action could be a “worst case scenario” in a country that has witnessed 18 coups since 1932. Related article: Tourists shaken

Abhisit’s future is looking precarious after the Election Commission called for the abolition of his ruling Democrat Party over allegations of illegal political donations — a move that could trigger the government’s collapse. Related article: Thai PM running out of options

A government led by Thaksin’s allies was brought down by a court ruling in 2008 which dissolved the then ruling party, more than two years after Thaksin was ousted in a bloodless coup after protests by the rival “Yellow Shirts.”

The commission’s move was hailed by the Reds, who draw their support largely from Thailand’s rural poor community and are pushing for new elections and the ouster of Abhisit’s government, which they charge is illegitimate and elitist.

A ruling on the commission recommendations could take months as they must first be assessed by the attorney general before being sent to the constitutional court.

And a Reds leader, Nattawut Saikuar, said their goals remained unchanged.

“We will achieve our goal when Abhisit dissolves parliament,” he told reporters. “We want him to dissolve the House and have new elections, so people will decide the government.”

The foreign minister said he expected a negotiated resolution to the crisis and even touched on the highly sensitive role of the monarchy in the future political life of the country.

“I do not know the outcome but I remain optimistic that we will be able to have the yellow, the red, the blue, the pink and the white coming to the negotiating table in the course of the next few days,” Kasit said, referring to the different factions.

“It is a process we have to go through and we should be brave enough to talk about even the taboo subject of the institution of the monarchy.”

Thaksin has been living in exile, mainly in Dubai, since 2006 to avoid a jail term for corruption at home.

Abhisit, who also blamed “terrorists” for Saturday’s violence, insisted that the government remained united in how to tackle a crisis that has dealt a heavy blow to businesses in the capital and to the vital tourist sector.

He offered during talks last month to hold elections by the end of 2010 — one year ahead of schedule — but protesters insist on immediate polls.

Army chief Anupong Paojinda also said on Monday that he was in favour of dissolving parliament.

“We must return to politics to solve the problem,” Anupong told reporters, suggesting that he was reluctant to use force again to put down the protests after the weekend bloodshed.

Seventeen civilians, including a Japanese cameraman, and four soldiers were killed after the army launched a crackdown on the Thaksin supporters. Related article: Protesters’ funeral parade

US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said they were “deeply saddened” by the violence and called for both the opposition and the government to return to the negotiating table after the failure of talks late last month.

Thailand’s financial markets are closed from Tuesday to Thursday for public holidays as the country marks its new year.

Source: SGGP