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Thai police seek to prosecute new party leader over online speech | Thailand News

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Just over a month before Thailand‘s long-delayed elections, police say they are seeking the prosecution of the leader of a new political party for allegedly spreading “false information” about the military government in a speech posted on Facebook last year.

The legal action against Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, 40, and two senior colleagues in the Future Forward Party, which has attracted the support of young voters, will add to concerns that the military is determined to retain a hold over politics, even after the return of civilian rule in the March 24 vote.

“We will send both the case for prosecution and the suspects to the attorney general,” Police Lieutenant Colonel Krit Seneewong Na Ayutthaya, an investigator on the case from the police cybercrime division, told Reuters news agency.

Thanathorn, a car-parts billionaire and newcomer to the political scene, and his two colleagues could be hit with hefty fines and jailed for five years under the Computer Crime Act.

Krit said the case would be referred next week to state prosecutors, who will decide whether to take it to court.

The Future Forward Party has denied the charge, saying the points made in the June speech were public information – the trio had alleged that the military government was recruiting members of major political parties to join new parties set up in support of it.

“It’s obvious that as the election approaches, the case is being rushed ahead … We’re ready to face whatever challenge comes our way,” Thanathorn told reporters at a campaign rally in the capital, Bangkok, on Wednesday.

Hundreds of young people, many of them students, turned out for the rally. Most took pictures and videos of Thanathorn and some queued up to take selfies with him. The hashtag “#SaveThanathorn” was trending on Thai Twitter.





Thanathorn takes a selfie with his supporters during a rally in Bangkok [Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters]

Government critics consider the Computer Crimes Act draconian for its denial of freedom of speech online.

“The use of the Computer Crimes Act is used with the objective to silence us, threaten us, to make politics of fear happen in this country,” Thanathorn had told reporters in September

Next month’s general election is the first since a 2014 military coup.

While the vote is being highly anticipated by political parties and voters, some are concerned that a new constitution, drafted under military supervision, will ensure that the generals will retain a significant role in politics.

Thanathorn launched his party last year, promoting it as an alternative to the country’s polarised politics, which has for years pitted loyalists of overthrown ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra against establishment parties supporting the military-royalist elite.

Thanathorn has been critical of military rule, recently pledging to prosecute coup-makers and amend the new constitution.


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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