Thailand parliament dissolved ahead of May election
BBC reported that Thailand’s king has dissolved parliament, paving the way for a general election in early May.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s new conservative, royalist party faces a strong challenge from the Pheu Thai party, led by exiled former PM Thaksin Shinawatra’s daughter Paetongtarn. Prayuth, who led a 2014 coup against the last pro-Thaksin government, has trailed in opinion polls for months.
The election date has not been set, but must be within 60 days of dissolution. Thailand’s current constitution – written by the military – could make it hard for the opposition to form a new government.
Campaigning by dozens of parties is already under way. Bangkok’s pavements are disappearing behind a blizzard of party posters making all kinds of promises to the voters.
Typhoon Mawar slams Guam with heavy wind and rain
Typhoon Mawar, a Category 4 storm, has reached the United States territory of Guam, pummelling the island with fierce wind and rain and knocking out power as residents try to ride out the storm in homes and shelters.
The National Weather Service (NWS) stated that the storm hit the northern tip of Guam on Wednesday evening, with maximum wind speeds of up to 225kph (140mph). The weather service said that conditions are expected to intensify through Thursday.
Ex-PM Imran Khan’s PTI hit by more resignations in Pakistan
A senior vice president of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Pakistan Movement for Justice, PTI) has quit the party while its secretary general has stepped down from his role, marking another blow to the embattled ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Fawad Chaudhry, the senior vice president and a former federal minister, tweeted that he was “parting ways” with Khan and the party.
“I have decided to take a break from politics, therefore, I have resigned from party position and parting ways from Imran Khan,” Chaudhry wrote.
Hours later, during a news conference in the capital Islamabad, Asad Umar announced he was also stepping down from his leadership position but added that he would remain a PTI member.
“In view of the events of May 9, it is untenable for me to continue in party’s leadership position so I am resigning from the post of secretary general and my membership of core committee,” said Umar, who had been released from a two-week stint in jail earlier in the evening.
With their resignations, Chaudhry and Umar join more than two dozen other leaders from ex-PM Khan’s PTI who have either left their positions or quit the party since his arrest earlier this month.
Cathay Pacific fires cabin crew over discrimination claim
Cathay Pacific Airways has fired three flight attendants after a complaint that they had discriminated against non-English speaking passengers.
They were sacked after an audio clip of the cabin crew apparently mocking passengers went viral. The Hong Kong carrier launched an internal investigation and apologised for causing “widespread concern”.
Chinese state media claimed the airline was “looking down on mainland Chinese people”. A passenger traveling from Chengdu to Hong Kong said the cabin crew mocked passengers who mistakenly asked for a “carpet” instead of a “blanket”. In the audio clip, a flight attendant can be heard laughing as she tells her colleagues: “If you cannot say blanket in English, you cannot have it. Carpet is on the floor.”
The incident has drawn much criticism on social media in China, with some users calling for a boycott of Cathay Pacific.
Hong Kong chief executive John Lee also said the incident had “hurt the feelings of compatriots in Hong Kong and the mainland”.
The airline’s CEO Ronald Lam apologised for the incident and said he will personally lead a task force to conduct a review into the company’s code of conduct.
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