BANGKOK: Thailand braced for mass protests yesterday as parliament debated a political amnesty that opponents fear will “whitewash” the past killing of unarmed demonstrators and allow ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra to return. Critics of the controversial legislation warn that it could unleash a fresh bout of political turmoil in a country rocked by a series of rival demonstrations since royalist generals ousted Thaksin in 2006. The opposition Democrat Party has called for a mass rally against the planned amnesty at a railway station in Bangkok yesterday evening, predicting that thousands will attend.
Online freedom questioned
SINGAPORE: A person claiming to speak for activist hacker group Anonymous yesterday threatened to “go to war” with Singapore by attacking its financial infrastructure to protest recent licensing rules for news websites. The video was taken off Youtube by early evening after Singapore media reported on the threat, but other sites had copied it by then. The voice in the video clip, which lasted for three minutes and 42 seconds, said Singapore’s cyber security defence network would be unable to stop the attack. It said the “primary objective” of posting the video clip was to “protest the Internet licensing framework” imposed by the government.
Laos recovers black boxes
BANGKOK: Search teams yesterday recovered the flight data recorders of a Lao Airlines plane that plunged into the Mekong River in bad weather killing all 49 people on board, officials said. The black boxes, which include both voice and data recordings, were found early yesterday as part of efforts to recover parts of the stricken craft from the river’s fast-flowing waters, according to officials.
Park vows neutrality
SEOUL: South Korean President Park Geun-Hye vowed yesterday to ensure the political neutrality of government agencies, as she addressed allegations that the domestic spy service interfered in last year’s presidential election. “Even if I myself did nothing that may arouse suspicion, suspicions have been raised that national agencies might have interfered with the election,” Park told a meeting of her top advisers. “From now on, the government will make sure that not only government agencies ... but also individual public employees won’t breach political neutrality even inadvertently.”
Bomb threats divert flights
BEIJING: Four domestic Chinese flights were diverted yesterday after bomb threats, state media reported, days after an attack rocked Tiananmen Square in the capital. The official Xinhua news agency said an unidentified suspect had been arrested in connection with the threats, which affected flights to and from Changsha in the central province of Hunan. Searches of the aircraft found no explosive devices. It was not clear if the suspect was the same person responsible for a multiple bomb threat two days earlier, also at Changsha airport.