Tuesday, December 18, 2018
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Istanbul (CNN) — Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that he regrets the deaths of 35 civilians in a military airstrike in a Kurdish area on the border with Iraq.

Speaking to reporters in Istanbul, he said, “It is an unfortunate outcome. It is a sad outcome.”

Pledging a full investigation, he said those killed late Wednesday were smuggling cigarettes and fuel, with almost half of them below the age of 20.

Erdogan said Turkey’s military had been monitoring the area because it was in constant use by terrorist groups and that security forces had become suspicious because of the size of the group and number of donkeys used.

The funerals of the victims, who all came from three villages in the Uludere area of Sirnak province, should now have been conducted, he said.

His words came a day after a senior member of a Kurdish separatist group urged Kurds to rise up against Turkish authorities over what he called a massacre.

Bahoz Erdal, a member of the command council of the armed wing of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, issued the call for action on the group’s official website.

“We urge all the people of Kurdistan, especially the people of Hakkari (province) and Sirnak, to react to this massacre and seek a settling of accounts through uprisings from the perpetrators of this massacre,” Erdal said in a statement.

Some observers have sounded the alarm in recent months about escalating tension between Turkey and its Kurdish minority, warning it may reignite a conflict that has simmered since 1984 and claimed more than 30,000 lives.

Turkey has been going on the offensive against Kurdish separatists based across its border in northern Iraq with bombings and incursions.

Erdal dismissed comments made by the Turkish military general staff Thursday, however, as having “nothing to do with reality,” saying the attack occurred inside Turkey, not in northern Iraq as the general staff said.

The general staff statement said the airstrike late Wednesday was in the Sinat-Haftanin area of northern Iraq, where many militant training camps are situated and there are no civilian settlements.

Surveillance by unmanned aerial vehicles showed a group moving from Iraq toward the border with Turkey in an area “mostly used by terrorists,” it said.

Erdal disputed that claim, saying the strike by Turkish air force jets was 30 kilometers (19 miles) away from Sinat-Haftanin in Uludere, in a Kurdish-populated area of Turkey.

“We do not have any camps, bases, activity or movement in the area as claimed. This massacre is an attack against our patriotic people of Botan,” he said, using the Kurdish term for the Sirnak area.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Friday that Turkey did not discriminate between its citizens, only between civilians and terrorists. “Every citizen is so valuable for us,” he said, quoted by the semi-official Anadolu news agency.

He described Wednesday’s airstrike as an “exceptional incident” that should be investigated according to the law.

Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul also said the incident was unfortunate, Anadolu reports.

A senior member of Turkey’s governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) also said Thursday that indications were that those killed were civilians smuggling cigarettes.

“These people were thought to be terrorists; however, the first initial investigative information we have from the local authorities, especially from Sirnak Governor’s office, indicate that these people are involved in cigarette smuggling,” said the AKP’s deputy chairman and spokesman Huseyin Celik.

He said the strike had killed many members of the same family.

“Even if there was a situation 100% that these people were smugglers, these people should not have been subjected to this, they should not have been bombed. It is out of question,” he said.

Celik promised a full investigation into the incident.

The general staff statement released Thursday said the military had received intelligence that militants were planning to attack border outposts following recent action against Kurdish separatists.

In October, an attack killed 24 Turkish soldiers in the southeastern section of the country, where Turkey borders Iraq. The Turkish government blamed terrorists for that attack, and the United States pinned responsibility for the attack on militants from the PKK.

Earlier this month, Turkish police detained dozens of people in a wave of raids focused on pro-Kurdish media organizations.

The Kurds represent the largest ethnic minority in Turkey. For decades, they were the target of repressive government policies, implemented by officials who sometimes referred to them as “mountain Turks.”

The PKK is designated as a terror organization by Turkey and the United States.

Dam deal agreed with Cambodia

Posted by arnon_k On December - 31 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Hun Sen discusses development options

Thailand and Cambodia have agreed to construct the Stung Num hydropower dam in Koh Kong, Cambodia after Thailand agreed to buy the electricity.

The countries will establish a joint working group to build the dam in Koh Kong, adjacent to Thailand’s Trat province, Energy Minister Pichai Naripthaphan said yesterday, after his return to Thailand from a trip to Cambodia.

Mr Pichai said Cambodia wanted to move ahead with the project immediately.

The project was initiated in 2008 by Cambodia but had been put on hold for years because of political conflicts between the two countries.

Mr Pichai and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul left Bangkok for Phnom Penh on Thursday to discuss preparations for the Joint Commission (JC) meeting which will be held in Chiang Mai province on Feb 29 and March 1.

Energy issues, including the planned construction of Stung Num dam and a natural gas survey in the overlapping maritime zone in the Gulf of Thailand, were high on the agenda.

The upcoming JC meeting will cover various issues between the countries including security, energy, education, culture, trade, the economy and border development.

After the talks on the JC preparations, the ministers paid a 45-minute official visit to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. Mr Surapong said Hun Sen also raised the prospect of joint development of the 26,000 sq km overlapping maritime zone between the two nations.

The atmosphere of the talks was friendly, Mr Surapong said.

Mr Surapong said the two countries have also agreed to open a new border checkpoint at Ban Nong Eian of Aranyaprathet district in Sa Kaeo, opposite Banteay Meancheay’s Stung Bot in Cambodia.

The new border checkpoint would stimulate trade flow between the countries which is currently worth up to US$2 billion a year.

Meanwhile, Wilaiwan Somkhwamkid, the mother of jailed Thai activist Veera Somkhwamkid, yesterday visited Veera at Prey Sar prison in Phnom Penh to inform him of a proposed prisoner swap deal which could result in his early release.

Cambodia says its king, His Majesty Norodom Sihamoni, may pardon Veera and his secretary Ratree Pipattanapaiboon, jailed on spying charges, if Thailand agrees to exchange them for a group of Cambodian prisoners jailed in Thailand.

After returning from her visit, Mrs Wilaiwan said her son wanted to go home and was ready to continue serving the rest of his jail term in Thailand because he was concerned about his health and his mother’s travelling to meet him every Friday.

“Everyone felt disappointed with Cambodia’s proposal and questioned why we have gone back to square one,” she said.

“I felt hopeless and don’t know how the Thai government will be able to help him next.”

Mr Surapong did not bring up the issue of Veera and Ratree at his talks with Hun Sen.

“I want the Thai government to help him soon,” said Mrs Wilaiwan.

“We have lived in hope and gone through this ordeal for a year.”

Veera, a coordinator of the Thai Patriots Network, and Ratree are serving eight and six years, respectively, in Prey Sar for illegal entry and espionage. Veera is said to be unwell.

They were arrested on Dec 29, 2010 in Banteay Meancheay.

Amazing Trip 9 Temples, Part 2

Posted by arnon_k On December - 31 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Wat Ratchapradit Sathitmahasimaram Ratchaworawihanwas constructed during the reign of King Rama IV between 1851 and 1868. His intention was to make it a Thammayut Sect Temple, pursuant to the customary practice of having three eminent temples in the capital city of the Kingdom (the others being Wats Ratchaburana and Mahatat). Its most outstanding characteristic is its mural paintings in the main abbey depicting the royal ceremonies including the “Legend of the Sun” phenomenon that occurred during the reign of King Rama IV

Wat Ratachabophit was constructed in 1869 by King Rama V. The king made it his royal temple for his reign as was the custom of former kings (such as Wat Phra Chetuphon for King Rama I, Wat Arun during King Rama II’s reign, Wat Ratcha Orasaram of King Rama III’s reign, and Wat Ratchapradit during King Rama IV’s reign). The word Ratchabophit means The Temple Built by the King, and the words Sathit Maha Simaram mean The Temple where big boundary stones are erected. The temple was well planned. The round gallery is an unique feature, linking the Ubosot and Wiharn. Inside, the Ubosot is decorated in Thai and French styles.

Wat Bowornniwet Vihara Rajaworavihara (Wat Boworn)is the Royal Temple (the first rank). Prince Mahasakdipolsep, vice king of King Rama III, ordered to construct this temple during 2367-2375 B.E., originally named “Wat Mai” and received a name “Wat Boworn-niwet Vihara” when King RamaIII invited his brother, King Rama IV, who was then a monk, to be abbot of the temple. Wat Boworn is also residence of members of the royal family who enter the monkhood i.e. King Rama VI, VII and IX.

Wat Suthat Thepwararam Ratchaworamahawihan is the official temple of King Rama VIII of Rattanakosin period housing his majesty sculpture within the compound Wihan houses “ Phrasi Sakayamunee” as the principal Sukhothai Buddha bronze image in the Subduing Mara posture. Ubosot, which is quoted for the longest of its kind in Thailand, houses Phra phutta Trilokkachet as the principal Buddha image in the Subduing Mara posture, larger than other Buddha images cast during Ratanakosin period

The Rama IX Golden Jubilee Temple located on Rama 9 road, was established in 1995 according to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s initiatives. His Majesty wished to build a medium-sized community temple with small budget in simple design which emphasizes mainly on functionality. While the temple serves as the center of dharma teaching, it acts as the center for community development assisting in charitable works within the neighborhood. In addition, close
ties among community, temple and school which can commonly be seen in olden days were brought back for mutual benefits of all parties.

Wat Phra Kaeo is the monastery within the royal palace compound. King Rama I ordered to build this temple in 1783 for his convenience in philanthropy practices.
Other attractions are Ubosot housing “Phra Puttamanee Rattanapatimakhon” (The Emerald Buddha) and the beautiful and the longest mural painting illustrated to Ramayana Epic. Pasat Phrathepbidorn is the stupa installing pictures of King Rama I to VIII. Phra Siratana Chedi pagoda, covered with golden ceramics, houses relics of Lord Buddha. Buddha images of each King of Ratanakosin period are housed in Phra Ratchapongsanushon Tower. Bell Tower barely hangs the resonant bell. Monuments of Kings of Ratanakosin are also in this temple. Besides, there are 6 pairs of grants from Ramayana Epic, standing at each balcony gate.

Hackers, IT units focusing on smartphone security

Posted by arnon_k On December - 31 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

(Reuters) – Mobile phones, long seen as safe amid rising threats to computer security, have become a key target for hackers and an increasing worry for corporate IT departments.

While the first mobile virus dates back to June 2004, risks from hackers remained limited because of the relatively small size of the market.

But this has changed recently with the surge in the smartphone segment, which this year outgrew the PC market, and the new dominance of Google’s Android software.

The emergence of mobile payments, which allows shoppers simply to swipe their phones at a cash register, is whetting the interest of hackers and data thieves.

“Mobile security has become a major concern since smartphone transactions are now of much higher value, including corporate data access, managing personal finances and online purchases,” said Steven Nathasingh, chief of U.S. research firm Vaxa Inc.

Most consumers have not protected their smartphones. Fewer than 5 percent of smartphones and tablets are installed with security software, according to Juniper Research.

The research firm expects to see a surge in demand with the total annual market for mobile security software growing to $3.6 billion by 2016.

“With more and more mobile devices being hijacked without the owner’s knowledge, the risk of identity theft and personal financial loss is intensifying,” said Peter Davin, chief executive of Cryptzone.

A study by consultancy Deloitte this week showed that companies in the technology, media and telecom sector expect data stored on staff mobile devices to be their biggest security headache in 2012.

“Employees should be made aware that using a personal device to access corporate data may also have personal implications,” said Cryptzone’s Davin. “For example if the device is lost, stolen or clandestinely taken over, the organization may decide to wipe data.”

In the United States alone, 113 mobile phones are lost every minute, according to research firm Gartner.

For most attacks criminals would need to install software on a victim’s phone.

But at a hackers’ convention this week Karsten Nohl, a well-known expert on mobile phone security, demonstrated how to get remote control of a phone and sent text messages and made calls from phones to which he had no access.

Nohl used a vulnerability in the GSM network technology — which is used by billions of people in about 80 percent of the global mobile market — which operators can patch in their networks, but which is not done by most carriers.