Category: government

Thai protesters surround Government House

Thousands of protesters broke through police cordons and surrounded Thailand’s seat of government on Wednesday, marking a symbolic moment in their three-month campaign against the establishment.

About 10,000 demonstrators converged on Government House in the capital, Bangkok, settling in for what organisers said would be several days of protests.

The student-led demonstrators are calling for the resignation of the government of former coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha, the writing of a new constitution and an end to the harassment of political dissenters.

They are also making what were until recently unheard of demands for limits on the wealth and powers of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who spends most of his time in Germany.

On Wednesday the king’s wife, Queen Suthida, was jeered as her limousine passed within a few metres of the protests. Demonstrators cried “My tax money!” and gave her their defiant three-fingered salute, taken from the film The Hunger Games.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida on their way to the Grand Palace in Bangkok on Wednesday
King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida on their way to the Grand Palace in Bangkok on Wednesday © Jorge Silva/Reuters

The royal couple has been in Thailand only on brief holiday visits this year, but returned on Saturday for what is expected to be a longer stay, and is now encountering a protest movement that incubated during the coronavirus lockdown.

On Tuesday police violently dispersed a pro-democracy protest at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument close to where the king’s motorcade was due to pass, and arrested 21 people. Human Rights Watch said those detained were charged with intent to cause violence, using loudspeakers without permission and several other offences. 

On Wednesday protesters gathering at the monument ahead of the march on Government House were met by pro-government demonstrators in yellow shirts, the colour of the royalist establishment. Some of those wearing yellow shirts were said to have been police.

Pro-democracy protesters dressed in traditional Thai costumes take part in the anti-government rally
Pro-democracy protesters dressed in traditional Thai costumes take part in the anti-government rally © Jack Taylor/AFP/Getty

The anti-government protesters broke through metal barriers around the monument, which commemorates the 1932 uprising against absolute monarchy, and removed the plant pots put in place after the 2014 military coup to keep people away.

Apart from some fistfights and minor scuffles, the unrest has been peaceful so far. However, the mood has turned uglier in terms of the rhetoric being used by both sides, and the apparent move by the Thai government to muster police on their side. 

“We’re seeing some signals from the opposite side that they are trying to provoke people,” said Napat Chaunrumluek, a 21-year-old student at Thammasat University. “It started in the morning, and there was a little chaos.” 

On Tuesday, hashtags insulting the king and other royals were traded on Thai social media including one saying “the king is trash” and another asking “why does the king exist?”

Additional reporting by Ryn Jirenuwat

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Watch live: Dr. Anthony Fauci and Norah O’Donnell talk COVID-19 surge and government response

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, is speaking with “CBS Evening News” anchor and managing editor Norah O’Donnell in an interview that will be streamed live on Wednesday. They are expected to speak about the fall coronavirus surge and the government’s response in the interview, which will stream at 3:30 p.m. Eastern on CBSNews.com.

Viewers are invited to text Norah their questions at 202-217-1107.


How to watch Norah O’Donnell’s interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci

  • What: Norah O’Donnell interviews Dr. Anthony Fauci
  • Date: October 14, 2020 
  • Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Location: via Zoom
  • Online stream: Live on CBSNews.com in the player above and on the CBS News app

Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has publicly diverged from President Trump’s coronavirus messaging in recent days. 

After Mr. Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis and return to the White House earlier this month, the president described the treatment he was given as a “cure.” There are no known cures for COVID-19. Fauci told CBS News the term could lead to unnecessary “confusion.” “We don’t have any indication — I think you really have to depend on what you mean by a ‘cure,’ because that’s a word that leads to a lot of confusion,” Fauci said. “We have good treatments for people with advanced disease who are in the hospital.” 

Fauci has also taken issue with the president’s unauthorized use of his comments in a 30-second ad. Fauci said the decision to use his comments without consent, and out of context, is a form of harassment. “By doing this against my will they are, in effect, harassing me,” he told The Daily Beast in a report posted on Monday. 

Fauci has identified the White House ceremony for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett as a “super spreader” event. At least 24 people in Mr. Trump’s orbit, not all whom attended the event, have tested positive for COVID-19. 

“I think the — the data speaks for themselves,” Fauci said of mask-wearing. “We had a super-spreader event in the White House and it was in a situation where people were crowded together and were not wearing masks. So the data speak for themselves.”

He warned that coronavirus cases are on the rise in a majority of states, with only three seeing fewer cases. “It’s going in the wrong direction right now,” Fauci said. “So if there’s anything we should be doing, we should be doubling down in implementing the public health measures that we’ve been talking about for so long. Which are: Keeping a distance, no crowds, wearing masks, washing hands, doing things outside as opposed to inside.”

Portions of Norah O’Donnell’s interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci will air on the “CBS Evening News” Wednesday evening at 6:30 p.m. ET on CBS and 10 p.m. on CBSN.

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Question marks over England trip to South Africa after government row

England’s proposed trip to South Africa next month is in doubt after the country’s government served notice of its intention to intervene in the Proteas’ cricket administration.

South African Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa has written to the acting president of Cricket South Africa, Beresford Williams, highlighting long-running dissatisfaction at the governing body and an alleged “failure of leadership to effectively manage its affairs”

While Mthethwa says he sees “no value in any further engagement with CSA”, he has also offered it until October 27 to respond and argue against the intervention.

A statement from the department of sports, arts and culture read: “Minister Mthethwa strongly believes that there is great merit in creating an environment where sports problems are handled within the sports movement and accordingly wishes to offer them every possible opportunity to demonstrate their stated commitment to cooperate on a way forward for cricket.

“The ball is now firmly in the court of CSA.”

England are pencilled in for three one-day internationals and three Twenty20s in November and December, though talks about the tour are ongoing given the complications caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The matches could come into question for another reason if CSA does not find a way to stop the government intervention and makes a formal complaint to the International Cricket Council. The ICC requires national boards to be independently run but requires a protest to be lodged or to see
exceptional circumstances to begin investigating.

A spokesperson said: “The ICC has received a letter from the Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture in South Africa giving notice of potential intervention into the matters of Cricket South Africa.

“At this stage, no complaint has been received from Cricket South Africa regarding government intervention and members are encouraged to resolve matters directly with their governments. We will continue to monitor the situation.”

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Comtech Telecommunications Corp. Receives $1.7 Million in Orders from Government Entity in Asia

October 14, 2020– Comtech Telecommunications Corp. (NASDAQ: CMTL) announced today that its Tempe, Arizona-based subsidiary, Comtech EF Data Corp., which is part of Comtech’s Commercial Solutions segment, received an aggregate of $1.7 million in orders for Up and Down Frequency Converters and Low Noise Amplifiers (“LNAs”) from a large government entity in Asia.

After a competitive request for proposal process and vendor evaluation, the government entity selected Comtech EF Data’s Frequency Converters and LNAs to support a significant network upgrade. The Comtech equipment will replace a mix of vendors’ installed equipment. The enhanced network infrastructure will support critical voice, data, and video applications, as well as inter-branch office communications.

Comtech EF Data has developed and manufactured an extensive line-up of Frequency Conversion and Amplifier solutions for over 25 years, with L-, C-, X-, Ku- and Ka-Band offerings. The indoor and outdoor products are field-proven, cost-effective and provide the reliability and performance needed to support fixed and mobile/transportable applications for commercial and government customers. The industry-leading Frequency Converters feature high gain and low phase noise performance along with a patented Daisy Chain Redundancy system that fits within minimum rack space.

“I am pleased that Comtech was selected to supply equipment for this government network,” said Fred Kornberg, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Comtech Telecommunications Corp. “This customer’s decision to exclusively utilize Comtech products is a testament to our demonstrated performance and quality.”

Comtech EF Data Corp. is a leading supplier of communications equipment with a focus on satellite bandwidth efficiency and link optimization. The high-performance satellite communications ground equipment is deployed globally to support mission-critical and demanding applications for government, mobile backhaul, premium enterprise and mobility. Service providers, satellite operators, governments and commercial users wanting to optimize communications, increase throughput and delight customers, are leveraging the performance and flexibility of the Comtech brand. The solutions are facilitating fixed and mobile networks in 160+ countries and across every ocean. For more information, visit www.comtechefdata.com.

Comtech Telecommunications Corp. designs, develops, produces and markets innovative products, systems and services for advanced communications solutions. The Company sells products to a diverse customer base in the global commercial and government communications markets.

Certain information in this press release contains statements that are forward-looking in nature and involve certain significant risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially from such forward-looking information. The Company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings identify many such risks and uncertainties. Any forward-looking information in this press release is qualified in its entirety by the risks and uncertainties described in such Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

PCMTL

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201014005209/en/

Contacts

Media Contact:
Michael D. Porcelain, President and Chief Operating Officer
631-962-7000
[email protected]

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Worker suspended for flying Trump flag from government truck

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Florida municipal worker was suspended without pay for flying a flag supporting President Donald Trump’s re-election from his government truck.

Palm Beach County suspended construction project specialist Randall Williams for five days for violating its rules against engaging in political activity during work hours.

“During a heated political season such as the one we find ourselves in now, it is imperative to remember that political activities must be done outside of working hours,” County Engineer David Ricks wrote in a staff memo Friday announcing the suspension.

A motorist spotted Williams, 61, driving his county truck with a Trump flag attached to the driver’s window last week and took a photo, The Palm Beach Post reports. The photo was forwarded to the county, which identified Williams.

Trump’s official residence, Mar-a-Lago, is in Palm Beach County.

Williams does not have a listed phone number and could not be reached for comment Wednesday. He could appeal his suspension.

The resident who spotted the truck told the Post in an email that Williams can support the president or any other candidate, but not by using a taxpayer-funded truck.

“Showing your political party, you can do it in your home, whatever, it’s your right,” Laurent Lesage said. “But on a county vehicle, I think it’s trying to do some provocation.”

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UK travel industry calls for urgent government action

Planes on the apron at London City Airport which has been closed after the discovery of an unexploded Second World War bomb.
Planes at London City Airport. Photo: PA

UK travel group ABTA said the government is not doing enough to support the sector, which has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

It criticised the government for “ever-changing quarantine rules and a dwindling number of destinations for holidaymakers to visit,” and demanded tailored support, including further grants.

ABTA said it is “vital that the Global Travel Taskforce launched this month to consider a testing regime, and other measures to support recovery of the travel industry, acts decisively and urgently to help increase consumer confidence and get the industry moving again.”

The taskforce was set up by the government and is meant to report to prime minister Boris Johnson no later than early November, setting out recommendations for how the UK can support the recovery of international travel.

According to new figures released by ABTA, only 15% of people took a foreign holiday between February and July 2020 compared to 51% over the 12-month period, and 64% the previous year.

READ MORE: EU gets approval to slap $4bn worth of tariffs on US imports in Boeing dispute

More than half (53%) of the people surveyed said they took fewer overseas holidays this past year compared to the previous year, with 87% of those saying they took fewer holidays because of coronavirus. 

Government restrictions were a contributing factor to a hesitation to travel, with 93% of people concerned about potential last-minute changes to foreign office travel advice and four in five people (80%) concerned about having to quarantine when they return to the UK.

The findings are from research based on a sample of 2,000 consumers and related to holiday booking habits in the 12 months to July 2020.

Meanwhile, figures also revealed that more than half of people (52%) believe that the travel industry should reopen in a greener way. 

A new report by ABTA identified the sustainability challenges faced by the industry, including the need to accelerate decarbonisation and to ensure that tourism generates greater benefits for destinations and local communities.

READ MORE: Turbulent times ahead for airlines as UK travel quarantine measures kick in

Mark Tanzer, ABTA’s CEO said: “There is no doubt that people’s confidence and trust in the industry has taken a huge hit — and we must work hard to earn that trust back. Not only is that by being creative and flexible in terms of the holiday and customer experience we offer, but also by making sustainability a fundamental principle of travel.”

Earlier this week a survey was reported to show that nearly two-thirds (64%) of business leaders see domestic and international travel as “key to their future prospects.”

The research, commissioned by London City Airport, also indicated that 48% believe the government’s quarantine restrictions are the biggest barrier to business air travel.

In other news showing the toll the pandemic has taken on the travel industry, British Airways chief executive Alex Cruz has quit the top job with immediate effect, to be replaced by

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Communities can force government action to stop out-of-control wildfires

Every year, more of America’s forests burn. For months now, Americans throughout entire time zones have been inundated with ash and smoke from our woodlands, neighbors’ homes and ecosystems that will take years to recover.

Yet despite this predictable yearly carnage, the solutions our government can and should immediately take are lost among generalizations and talking points. Public officials on both sides of the aisle have lobbed excuses at each other over the “true” cause of these wildfires: “It’s bad forest management!” “No, it’s climate change!”

They are both right and they are both wrong.

Starting in the early 1900s, decades of flawed forest management led to the dangerous over-accumulation of forest fuel (dense forest brush and small trees). Then, in the past few decades, longer and more severe droughts made dangerously fire-prone forests literal tinder boxes where fires burned hotter, moved faster, grew bigger and posed ever-greater risks to forests, homes and lives. Our forests are burning uncontrollably today because of decades of questionable management and changing environmental conditions.

But it doesn’t matter whether it is 30 percent of one cause and 70 percent of the other, or a 50/50 mix of both. Because whatever has led to these conditions, our federal officials are 100 percent responsible for taking every reasonable step available to dramatically reduce fuel loads in our forests and making the land safe for residents, homeowners and wildlife.

This is because federally owned forests dominate our fire-prone landscapes, and Congress bears the largest share of the responsibility to make them safer. But federal legislators have handcuffed forest management staff with red tape and competing (often conflicting) priorities, all the while failing to fund the top priority, which should always be community safety. This has to stop, and Congress has the responsibility to make it so by reforming federal forest management policies to prioritize fuel reduction and make forests healthier.

Prioritizing fuel reduction means exempting fuel removal from the thicket of bureaucracy that impedes it. Things such as lengthy environmental reviews, multiple layers of planning documents, vetoes on fuel reduction by other agencies, ever-looming citizen lawsuits, and inadequate funding for proper forest management all have made the forests more dangerous and less healthy. Cutting and reforming these debilitating policies, and even removing forest fuel reduction from Endangered Species Act regulation (there are few greater risks to endangered wildlife than catastrophic fires), can have real, immediate impact on forest fire danger. 

Unfortunately, these obvious measures depend on Congress taking its responsibilities seriously and accomplishing rapid, bipartisan action. But communities at greatest risk of fire can’t wait while Congress dithers, so they should take matters into their own hands in the federal courts.

Local governments have the power to sue the federal government under public nuisance laws to force the feds to properly maintain overgrown forests threatening cities and towns. Just as a city can take action against delinquent property owners over a rundown property that poses a fire risk to a neighborhood, cities can take action against the

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Government loses credibility as coronavirus goalposts keep moving

I’ve repeated this often over the last few months. We have lost sight of the goal. I think it’s reasonable for everyone to take a step back and say how did we end up here? How did we go from we need to flatten the curve for the month of April, to “we are going to shut your business down in September and October if you decide to stay open?”

In California, the goalposts continue to move. At the beginning, the goal was to make sure we had enough hospital beds, make sure we had enough PPE equipment, make sure we weren’t having to choose between who could live and who couldn’t. Thankfully, because of the people of San Diego and the great work from our local public health officials, we never had any of those problems.

Now though, the goal has changed. In California, we have a flawed color-coded system and that doesn’t even have a green tier with full openings. Businesses are going to limited in capacity for an indefinite period.

We’ve been told that life won’t get back to normal until there’s a vaccine. So, if the goal truly is to keep everyone locked down until there is a vaccine, we have to start being honest. An Axios/Ipsos poll was done last week that said only 13 percent of Americans would be willing to try the vaccine when it comes out.

Trust is decreasing, and now more and more people are becoming suspicious of what is coming out from the government. Almost all business owners set goals, whether it’s financial or other factors. They set goals as a way to look towards the future.

I look to Governor Newsom and Sacramento and I wonder, what is the goal? Is it hospital capacity? Is it a vaccine and extinction of the virus?

Yes, we should be working on a vaccine, but we should not base our economic future solely on it. We need to learn to live with this virus. If a vaccine is the goal, we need to win the trust back of the public. We need to let them get back to a life as normal as possible. We need to give them the facts.

The facts are, if you are under the age of 50 you have a 99.98% chance of surviving COVID-19. If you are below 70 you have a 99.5% chance. In San Diego County, 6% of our hospital beds are COVID-19 patients, and we have thousands of open hospital beds available in case of an increase. Those are the facts.

We need to quit playing with the emotions of business owners and with flawed color-coded systems. We need to start being honest when it comes to the goals for dealing with COVID-19, because we are quickly losing the trust of the people.

Jim Desmond is a San Diego County supervisor.

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SAfrican cricket in danger of ban as government intervenes

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — South Africa is in danger of being banned from international cricket after its government said Wednesday that it intended to intervene in the affairs of the sport’s national body following revelations of serious misconduct by senior officials.

The statement from sports minister Nathi Mthethwa said he had informed the International Cricket Council of the intended action. The ICC’s constitution forbids government interference and the punishment is normally a ban from international games for the country’s teams until the national cricket body is operating independently again.

The tension between the South African government and Cricket South Africa relates to a long-running investigation into the affairs of the cricket body, which resulted in the firing of CEO Thabang Moroe for serious misconduct in August.

But Cricket South Africa refused to make the report by independent investigators public and also resisted an attempt by the government-aligned South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee to conduct its own investigation into CSA.

CSA ultimately relented and publicly released a summary of the forensic investigation’s findings this month, more than two months after it received the report. CSA was also forced to hand over the full report, nearly 500 pages long, to a committee of South African lawmakers last week after they demanded to see it.

The parts of the report that have been publicly released revealed serious misconduct and possible acts of corruption and implicated Moroe and former chief operating officer Naasei Appiah in the wrongdoing. But lawmakers who saw all the documents questioned Tuesday why other executives and board members at the body were not investigated, and if CSA was trying to hide wrongdoing by others.

They called it a “a one-sided report.”

CSA is currently operating with an acting president and an acting CEO, and the board has been severely criticized for failing to act to stop the misconduct during Moroe’s tenure.

On Wednesday, Mthethwa said a series of meetings with CSA “to try and assist CSA to stabilize its governance matters” had come to nothing and accused the cricket body of being uncooperative.

“I have now reached a point where I see no value in any further engagement with CSA,” Mthethwa said.

The sports minister gave cricket officials until Oct. 27 to argue why he shouldn’t intervene.

___

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Don’t blame the government for its handling of Covid. It’s our fault, apparently

At the weekend I went to Broadway Market in east London for the first time in seven months, because – and you don’t need to know this, but I’m telling you anyway – I became semi-obsessed with some walnut saucisson I saw tagged there on Instagram, and emerged blinking and pale from my hole just to find some. I’m glad I did, because the entire venture felt like a normal-world autumnal thing to be doing: shuffling round a food market in a long coat, holding a slightly overpriced latte someone made with an imported Japanese machine, marvelling at small, aesthetically bred pedigree dogs, looking at a vintage trinket stall and considering if I want to have a copper diving helmet in my house (no): revelling in that gorgeous early Saturday afternoon ritual of slowly deciding that you want a pint.



a person holding a sign: Photograph: Amer Ghazzal/REX/Shutterstock


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Amer Ghazzal/REX/Shutterstock

For a moment I felt normal, and then I gazed out over the crowd and the intrusive thought came back into my head: “Guh, they should all be at home! Covidiots!”

That phrase, GTSABAH! C!, has been in my brain more or less on a loop since April, when the first clench of lockdown loosened just an inch, and people went tentatively to the park, and other people – let’s be honest, snitches – took photos of them there, and tweeted those photos and sent them to the newspapers, which then presented small clusters of people quietly eating a 99 on a park bench in the same way you or I might regard a war crime. Ever since then I’ve been careful not to find myself in too big a crowd out in public, because it only takes one person with a wide-angle lens and there I am, trapped in the same nonchalant, angular pose as Bigfoot in that photo, a super-spreader criminal with a rapidly melting Feast halfway up to his nose, damned online for ever. So mostly, I’ve stayed indoors.

This would be fine if the public didn’t still blame me for, well, coronavirus. As YouGov found this week, the wider public – ie the victims of, and necessarily the spreaders of, coronavirus – predominantly blame each other for the crisis and not – random example – the government that has overseen a succession of calamitous cronyism and policy failures on a thrice-weekly basis since March. Of 1,972 adults surveyed, 53% hold the public (that is: themselves) responsible for the rise in coronavirus cases over the past month, with only 28% pointing their (freshly washed, for 20 seconds or more) finger at the government. Split that data by voting intention, and 78% of Conservative voters blame the public, with only 7% mad at the government. Labour voters went 29% public, 55% government. As for leave voters, 71% said public, 14% government, while remain went for the most balanced split: 42% public, 43% government.



a person holding a sign: ‘YouGov found that the wider public predominantly blame each other for the crisis and not, random example, the government that has overseen a succession of policy failures.’


© Photograph: Amer Ghazzal/REX/Shutterstock
‘YouGov found that the wider public predominantly blame each other for the

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