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‘Down with feudalism’: Activists lay plaque in defiance of Thai king | World News

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They promised a dawn surprise, and in Bangkok, anti-government protesters ushered it in to the chorus of a pneumatic drill.

Below the skirt of a tent, we watched them chip away at a square of concrete in front of the country’s Grand Palace.

Into it they laid a plaque which declared that Thailand belongs to the people.

Anti-government protesters hold a rally in Bangkok
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Anti-government protesters rallying in Bangkok

It’s the latest challenge to the monarchy by a series of pro-democracy demonstrations which have been happening almost daily since July.

Many of Sunday’s crowd have been there all night, after attending a massive demonstration on Saturday which the organisers claim attracted 100,000 supporters – while Thai authorities claimed the turnout was around 20,000.

“Down with feudalism, long live the people,” the protesters chanted, before lining up to buy their own miniature metal versions of the plaque, which sold out in minutes.

The plaque resembles one commemorating the end of absolute monarchy in 1932.

In 2017, after King Maha Vajiralongkorn took the throne, it mysteriously disappeared from outside one of the royal palaces.

Anti-government protesters wearing respirator masks and goggles take part in a protest
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Anti-government protesters wearing respirator masks and goggles as they protest

It was replaced by one bearing a pro-monarchist slogan.

Until recently, open criticism of the monarchy was unheard of in Thailand, which has strict defamation laws concerning the royal family.

Anyone found guilty of breaching them could face up to 15 years in jail.

A line of police stand guard in front of the Grand Palace
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Police officers stand guard in front of Thailand’s Grand Palace

But some of the movement’s leaders have been breaking this taboo.

As well as reform of the monarchy, they want new elections, a new constitution and the prime minister to step down.

Today, they went further, leading the crowd to present a petition of their demands, addressed to the king.

People take photos with a commemorative plaque placed by pro-democracy protest leaders
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People take photos with the commemorative plaque

As the convoy snaked its way towards the Grand Palace, it was stopped by a line of unarmed police.

People had been warned to avoid clashes and as officers and protesters faced off at the barriers, student activist Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul made her way through the masses to give their letter to Bangkok’s police chief.

They hope it will be passed on to the king who is currently abroad.



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Siobhan Robbins’ report from the Bangkok protests

“We have now proved that even an ordinary citizen can communicate with the king, with the monarch, directly,” student leader Parit ‘Penguin’ Chiwarak told me.

If their demands go unanswered, they have said they’ll escalate their movement.

The Royal Palace was not immediately available for comment.









The dangers of protesting in Thailand


Government spokesperson Anucha Burapachaisri told me, ahead of the weekend’s gatherings: “We encourage people to come forward if they have any issues at the moment to discuss. But we will try to avoid any kind of confrontation and we will try to facilitate in terms of discussion in a constructive way.”

Demonstrators say they will gather again on Thursday.

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County Cork: Three men from same family found dead after shooting | World News

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Three men from the same family have been found dead in County Cork, Ireland, following a shooting.

The body of a man in his 20s was found in a bedroom of a property in Assolas, Kanturk, by Gardai officers.

Another body of a man in his 20s and a man in his 50s were later found on adjoining land in the northeast of the county.

Officers have confirmed that the three men were all from the same family and were found with gunshot wounds.

Gardai were called to the address at around 6.30am on Monday after a woman in her 60s alerted neighbours about gunfire at her home.

Police negotiators soon attempted to make contact with anyone inside the property.

Officers approached the house after 1pm and discovered the first body, the other two were found after an aerial search was conducted.

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A full investigation has been launched, with the state pathologist and Garda Technical Bureau both expected to visit the scene.

A Garda spokesperson said no one else is being sought in connection with the incident.

An appeal has been made for witnesses or anyone with information to contact the investigating Gardai at Mallow Garda Station on 022 31450, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda station

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Moon: ‘Water traps’ on surface may be more common than previously thought, say researchers | Science & Tech News

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Water could be more common on the moon than previously thought in what would provide “everything that NASA needs” for future lunar missions.

Natural supplies of water there would allow astronauts to hydrate themselves and help to provide fuel for other space projects.

Researchers have suggested that in some cases tiny patches of ice might exist in permanent shadows no bigger than a penny coin.

This lunar phenomena, called cold traps, are shadowy regions of the moon’s surface that exist in a state of eternal darkness.

But the only way to prove their existence could be by astronauts exploring the surface or through robotic missions.

It is thought that many of the cold traps have gone without a single ray of sunlight for potentially billions of years.

Scientists believe there may be a lot more of these traps than previous data had suggested.

Paul Hayne, assistant professor in the laboratory of atmospheric and space physics at the University of Colorado Boulder, said: “If we’re right, water is going to be more accessible for drinking water, for rocket fuel, everything that NASA needs water for.

“If you can imagine standing on the surface of the moon near one of its poles, you would see shadows all over the place. Many of those tiny shadows could be full of ice.”

Drawing on data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a robotic spacecraft which maps the moon’s surface, the researchers estimate the moon could harbour about 15,000 square miles (38,850 sq km) of permanent shadows in various shapes and sizes.

According to scientists, these might be reservoirs capable of preserving water via ice.

The team found that small-scale micro cold traps – some just 1cm (0.4in) wide – are hundreds to thousands of times more numerous than larger cold traps and can be found at both poles.

Scientists say the findings indicate water is produced or delivered on the moon by various processes, and is likely to be stored in the cold traps.

However, the researchers said the only way to prove these shadows actually hold pockets of ice would be to go there in person or with robotic diggers.

Prof Hayne said: “Astronauts may not need to go into these deep, dark shadows.

“They could walk around and find one that’s a metre wide and that might be just as likely to harbour ice.”

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Emiliano Sala: Man in court over plane crash that killed footballer | UK News

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A man who allegedly arranged the fatal flight taken by footballer Emiliano Sala has pleaded not guilty to endangering the safety of an aircraft.

David Henderson, 66, was charged after the flight crashed north of Guernsey in January last year, killing pilot David Ibbotson and passenger Sala.

The 28-year-old Argentinian striker had been travelling to the UK as part of a multimillion-pound transfer from FC Nantes in France to Cardiff City FC.

The wreckage was located on Sunday
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Sala’s body was found in the plane wreckage

His body was recovered from the plane’s wreckage the following month, but the body of Mr Ibbotson, 59, has never been found.

Cardiff Crown Court heard Mr Ibbotson, who was contracted to fly the aircraft, did not have a commercial pilot’s licence at the time as it had expired in November 2018.

The court was also told bad weather was forecast for the fatal journey from Nantes to Cardiff, with the pilot allegedly not “competent to fly in such weather”.

A report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) previously found the aircraft had broken up mid-flight while being flown too fast for its design limits, and that the pilot had lost control while trying to avoid bad weather.

It also concluded Mr Ibbotson was probably affected by carbon monoxide poisoning, likely caused by a failure in part of the exhaust’s tailpipe.

The pilot had no previous training to fly at night and he was paid for the flight, even though his licence did not permit it.

Dave Ibbotson
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David Ibbotson was flying the plane when it crashed
Emiliano Sala's plane in 2016. File pic: James
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Emiliano Sala’s plane in 2016. File pic

Henderson, from Hotham in the East Riding of Yorkshire, appeared in court via video link to deny two offences under the Air Navigation Order brought by the Civil Aviation Authority.

The court heard he was charged with endangering the safety of an aircraft, as well as attempting to discharge a passenger without valid permission or authorisation.

Defence lawyer Stephen Spence raised the issue of whether Cardiff was an “appropriate venue” for a fair trial, given Sala’s link with the football club.

Henderson’s trial date has been set for 18 October 2021 and he was granted unconditional bail until the trial begins.

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