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Disguised gunmen kill four volunteers guarding Thai school | Thailand News

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Attackers disguised as state security staff have killed four paramilitary volunteers guarding a school in conflict-hit southern Thailand, police said.

The gunmen approached the armed territorial defence volunteers at the school in Pattani province and shot them dead shortly before noon Thursday, Wicha Nupannoi, police lieutenant colonel, was quoted as saying by The Associated Press news agency.

They seized four HK33 assault rifles from their victims before fleeing, scattering nails and other material on the road to delay pursuers, he added.

Predominantly Buddhist Thailand’s three southernmost provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat have long been hit by an armed campaign waged by separatist fighters.

The conflict has killed about 7,000 people since 2004, according to Deep South Watch, a research group monitoring the region.





 

School attacks

On Tuesday, a bomb outside a school and a car bomb elsewhere exploded in nearby Songkhla province, wounding a 12-year-old student, a security guard for teachers and a police medic.

A flurry of similar attacks took place in the last week of December. Several targeted Songkhla, which previously had been largely spared the violence.

“The insurgents consider school officials to be symbolic of the Thai Buddhist state’s occupation of Malay Muslim territory,” Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement. “They have frequently targeted security personnel assigned to provide students and teachers safe passage to and from school, or protecting the school grounds.”

The attacks have occurred during an effort to revitalise peace talks between the Thai government and some armed groups. Analysts say the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), which spearheads the fight for independence, is not taking part.

‘Morally indefensible’

Thai Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan blamed the BRN for Tuesday’s bombings. He said the authorities would have to step up efforts to prevent the attacks.

Brad Adams, HRW’s Asia director, said in the statement that “insurgents in southern Thailand attack schools and medical clinics to maim and terrify Buddhist civilians, control the Muslim population, and discredit Thai authorities”. 

“Whatever the rationale, targeting civilians is morally indefensible and a war crime.”

The fight for independence in Thailand’s deep south has been going on for decades, but the conflict escalated in 2004 after a series of well-planned attacks on police and government facilities. 

The region is home to various ethnic groups, with Thai Muslims making up the majority of the population.


SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies

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25 Best Senators’ Memories From 25 Years at Canadian Tire Centre

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There is a special birthday in the Ottawa suburb of Kanata this weekend.

Canadian Tire Centre turns 25. Its doors first opened on Jan. 15, 1996, for a Bryan Adams concert. The Senators played their first game in their new arena on Jan. 17, 1996, when they lost to the visiting Montreal Canadiens.

I’ve spent a great deal of my life has at that arena. I don’t know how many Sens games I have been to there — I would ballpark it somewhere between 600 and 700. But I thought it would be fun to look back and share my 25 most memorable moments at the arena. I am not counting numerous concerts as great moments in the building — I often joke that the four best concerts I have ever seen there are Garth Brooks, Garth Brooks, Garth Brooks and Garth Brooks. I am not counting the 2009 World Juniors either. I am sticking entirely to the Sens.

25. Paul MacClone

Mike Watson was just sitting in his company seats, minding his own business, watching the Ottawa Senators take on the Florida Panthers on a January night during the 2012-13 season. The casual discussion among reporters after the game was how he broke Twitter.

Watson’s friends had told him that he looked like then-Senators’ head coach Paul MacLean. When he got face time on the new high-definition scoreboard, in the front row and directly behind the coach, the crowd buzzed and cheered.

Senators coach Paul MacLean had a doppelganger behind the bench.

The shot of Watson behind the bench spread quickly on social media. Surely, everyone thought, he must have been planted in that seat. He wasn’t. The last time he had sat in those seats, Cory Clouston was the coach, and no one noticed him.

As the season went on, the MacLean doppelganger became a local celebrity and was somewhat of a mascot during Ottawa’s playoff run.

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With spare parts and derring-do, Ottawa’s own Rocketman reinvents skating

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An Ottawa man is turning heads on frozen stretches of the Ottawa River with a homemade device he jokingly refers to as his “jetpack.”

In reality, Brydon Gibson’s gas-powered, propeller-driven invention is more Rona than NASA.

“I got my hands on some weed whacker motors and I figured strapping one on my back and making skating a little bit lazier would [be] a good idea,” said Gibson, 24.

He bolted a 38-centimetre propeller to a wooden frame, fashioned a throttle out of a brake handle and cable salvaged from a 10-speed bike, then added padded straps cut from a dollar store backpack. He laced up his skates, and suddenly Gibson was zipping along at speeds reaching 40 km/h. 

“I was actually getting a little scared at one point because I was going a little too fast,” the inventor admitted.

There are no brakes, but there is kill switch to cut the power “when something goes wrong,” said Gibson. “It’s actually a little finicky.”

This is not the first iteration of Gibson’s invention. As a teen, he built an electric propulsion device in his parents’ basement, though it never got to the testing phase.

“Ever since I was a kid … I’ve been taking apart things I found on the side of the road, making a mess of my parents basement, spreading electronics everywhere,” he said.

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‘It is frustrating’: U.S-educated nurse from Ottawa hits barriers to getting licensed in Ontario

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Before she accepted a swimming scholarship to attend Boston’s Northeastern University, Ottawa’s Rachael Geiger made sure it had the kind of nursing program she wanted. The school’s baccalaureate nursing program offered a fifth year of co-operative placement after four years of study — something Geiger thought would leave her well prepared for a career as a nurse when she returned home after university.

But it hasn’t worked out that way.

Two and a half years after graduating summa cum laude from Northeastern, the 25-year-old is unable to work as a registered nurse in Ontario.

Geiger said she was initially surprised, especially since she wrote the same licensing exam in Massachusetts as is written in Ontario, the NCLEX-RN exam. She is licensed to practise in Massachusetts and Illinois.

“I never thought it would be such a challenge.”

She and her family are frustrated at how difficult it has been for her to get registered to be able to practise in Ontario. That frustration is heightened by the fact that nurses have seldom been in such high demand in Canada and around the world as the COVID-19 pandemic strains health systems and shortages loom. Local hospitals are among those trying to recruit nurses. The Canadian Nurses Association has been warning that Canada will experience extreme shortages in coming years.

“It is frustrating to sit and see all the news about nursing shortages and not be able to help,” said Geiger.

Doris Grinspun, chief executive officer of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, the professional association that represents registered nurses, nurse practitioners and nursing students in the province, said she was “more than surprised” to hear of the difficulty Geiger has had.

But Grinspun, who initially studied nursing in Israel and then the U.S. before becoming one of the country’s nursing leaders, said the system of allowing foreign trained nurses to work in Ontario is unnecessarily slow and complicated and leads many valuable nurses to simply give up or find another career. Grinspun herself challenged the system when she first came to work in Ontario.

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