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February 03, 2014 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-02-03

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6A - Monday, Feburary 3, 2014
Light humor,
emotional
ads dominate
Super Bowl
Shocking, salacious
commercials in past
years were panned
by public
NEW YORK (AP) - Advertis-
ers played it safe in Super Bowl
ads this year.
There were no crude jokes.
Sexual innuendo was kept to a
minimum. And uncomfortable
story lines were all but missing.
And in their place, much more
sedate ads.
From the light humor of
RadioShack poking fun at its
image with 80s icons like Teen
Wolf and The California Raisins
to a Coca-Cola ad showcasing
diversity by singing "America
the Beautiful" in different lan-
guages, it was a softer night of
advertising.
With a 30-second spot cost-
ing around $4 million and
more than 108 million view-
ers expected to tune in to the
championship game, it's was
crucial for advertisers to make
their investment count. The
shocking ads in years past have
not always been well received
(Think: GoDaddy.com's ad that
features a long, up-close kiss
came in at the bottom of the
most popular ads last year.)
So this year, advertisers out
of their way to be more family
friendly themes: socially con-
scious statements, patriotic
messages and light humor.
"Advertisers are getting
attention but they're not trying
to go over the top," said David
Berkowitz, chief marketing offi-
cer for digital ad agency MRY.
"A lot of brands were going with
the safety from the start."
The safer ads had a mixed
reaction among viewers. Keith
Harris, who was watching the
Super Bowl with friends and
family in Raleigh, N.C., said he
appreciated the safer ads. "The
ads are less funny, but it's easier
to watch the Super Bowl with
your family," he said.

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

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Thailand elections
without violence,
but crisis not over

A Lebanese woman, Ghadeer Mortada,18, who was wounded along with threen
one-year-old boy, Mohammed, in a hospital, after a deadly car bomb exploded S
Syrian air raids kill v

Assad has expanded
his aerial campaign
in recent months
BEIRUT (AP) - Syrian gov-
ernment helicopters and war-
planes unleashed a wave of
airstrikes on more than a dozen
opposition-held neighborhoods
in the northern city of Aleppo
on Sunday, firing missiles and
dropping crude barrel bombs
in a ferocious attack that killed
at least 36 people, including 17
children, activists said.
Aleppo has been a key bat-
tleground in Syria's civil war
since rebels swept into the city
in mid-2012 and wrested most
of the eastern and southern
neighborhoods from the gov-
ernment. Since then, the fight-
ing has settled into a bloody
grind, with neither side capable
of mounting an offensive that
would expel its opponents from
the city.
But over the past two
months, President Bashar
Assad's air force has ramped
in t .ria) r i r nn r-.L

On Sunday alone, Syr-
ian military aircraft targeted
15 opposition-controlled neigh-
borhoods, said an activist who
goes by the name of Abu al-
Hassan Marea.
The Britain-based Syr-
ian Observatory for Human
Rights monitoring group said
the Tariq al-Bab district on the
eastern edge of the city was the
hardest-hit, with at least eight
barrel bombs raining down on
it Sunday. Marea said one of the
air raids in the neighborhood
struck a vegetable market and
another landed near a mosque.
The Aleppo Media Center
activist group said the strike
near the Abdullah bin Masoud
Mosque killed more than 10
people.
The Observatory put the
day's death toll in the air raids
at 36, including 17 children.
Marea said that more than 50
people were killed in the air-
strikes, although he did not
have an exact count.
An amateur video posted
online showed a helicopter
circling in the blue sky, and
tha n hnrl nlii tin frn

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up trs aeria campaign on rene e nnagre imeigro
held areas of Aleppo, pounding the aircraft until it slams into
them with barrel bombs - con- buildings on the horizon, send-
tainers packed with explosives, ing a pillar of smoke and dust
fuel and scraps of metal - that into the air. The video appeared
cause massive damage on genuine and corresponded to
impact. other Associated Press report-
i
30, 2014
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Protesters want
voting process
suspended, reforms
in electoral law
BANGKOK (AP) - Thailand
held nationwide elections with-
out bloodshed Sunday despite
widespread fears of violence. But
the country's bitter political cri-
sis is far from over, and one ofthe
next flash points is likely to be an
HUSSEIN MALLA/AP effort to nullify the vote.
members of her family, holds her Although balloting was large-
aturday evening. ly peaceful, protesters forced
thousands of polling booths to
s 3 6 close in Bangkok and the south,
it least disenfranchising millions of
registered voters. Not all Par-
ing of the events depicted. liament seats will be filled as a
This is not the first time that result, meaning the nation could
Assad's air force has waged an stay mired in political limbo for
intense campaign over Aleppo. months with the winning party
In December, military heli- unable to form a new govern-
copters pounded rebel-held ment.
districts of the city with bar- The struggle to hold the vote
rel bombs, leveling buildings, was part of a 3-month-old con-
burying people under the flict that has split the country
rubble and killing more than between supporters of Prime
500 people over a two-week Minister Yingluck Shinawatra
stretch. and protesters who allege her
The misery in Aleppo was government is too corrupt to
then compounded in early rule.
January by an outburst of reb- The crisis, in which demon-
el-on-rebel fighting, which has strators have occupied major
weakened the opposition's grip intersections across Bangkok
on parts of the city. and forced government minis-
Over the past two weeks, tries to shut down and work else-
Assad's forces have slowly where, overshadowed the poll's
chipped away at the rebels'hold run-up to such an extent that
on neighborhoods in southeast- campaigning and stump speech-
ern Aleppo. While the advances es laying out party platforms
have been small, they still mark were virtually non-existent.
the most significant govern- Rather than "a contest among
mert gains in the divided city candidates, it was about whether
since opposition fighters seized the election itself could happen,"
the areas in mid-2012. said Sunai Phasuk of Human
As intense as the airstrikes Rights Watch. "That in itself says
have been, the rebels' position a lot about the fate of democracy
in the city and across northern in Thailand - it's hanging by a
Syria has been undermined to thread."
a greater degree by the bloody Television stations, which
bout of infighting that pits the normally broadcast electoral
al-Qaida-linked Islamic State results, were reduced to project-
of Iraq and the Levant against ing graphics not of party vic-
an array of ultraconservative tories and losses, but of which
brigades and more moderate constituencies were open or
factions. closed.
Official results cannot be
announced until a series of by-
elections are held and all dis-
tricts have voted. The first will
take place Feb. 23.
In Bangkok, protesters sur-
Ca1: #734-418-4115 rounded government offices
Email: dailydisplay@gmail.com housing ballot papers, prevent-
ing them from being delivered.
They also pressured electoral
officials not to report for duty,
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Service, Amsenities and All a
REtASONABLE RIVtS Ampai Pittajit, 65, a retired
www.TIohe2ndFloorSU.com civil servant who helped block

ballot boxes in Bangkok, said she
did it "because I want reforms
before an election."
"I understand those who are
saying this is violating their
rights," he said. "But what about
our right to be heard?"
The Election Commission said
poll closures affected about 18
M c i a percent of the country's 48 mil-
lion registered voters, although
many of them may not have cast
P * ballots anyway following a boy-
cott by the opposition Democrat
party, which is calling for politi-
cal and economic reform first.
The protesters want to suspend
democracy and are demanding
the government be replaced by
an unelected council that would
rewrite political and electoral
laws to combat deep-seated prob-
lems of corruption and money
politics. Yingluck has refused to
step down, arguing she is open to
reform and such a council would
be unconstitutional.
Yingluck called Sunday's
vote after dissolving Parlia-

ment in December in a failed
bid to defuse the crisis. Protests
intensified, and Yingluck - now
a caretaker premier with lim-
ited power - has found herself
increasingly cornered. Courts
have begun fast-tracking cases
that could see her party removed
from power, while the army has
warned it could intervene if the
crisis is not resolved peacefully.
Fears of violence Sunday rose
after a dramatic gunbattle erupt-
ed in broad daylight Saturday at
a major Bangkok intersection
between government support-
ers and protesters who were try-
ing to block delivery of ballots.
Seven people were wounded.
Late Sunday, gunmen opened
fire on several vehicles that mis-
takenly drove onto an empty
overpass in the city center con-
trolled by demonstrators who
have blocked the road off with a
large sand-bagged bunker. The
shooting, which shattered one
vehicle's windshield and left bul-
let holes in another, wounded a
man and a woman, according to
the city's emergency services.
The protesters are a minority
that cannot win through elec-
tions, but they comprise a for-
midable alliance of opposition
leaders, royalists, and powerful
businessmen who have set their
sights on ousting the govern-
ment. They have waged that fight
successfully before - by ousting
Yingluck's brother, former pre-
mier Thaksin Shinawatra, in a
2006 army coup, and by forcing
two Thaksin-allied prime minis-
ters who followed to step down
through controversial legal rul-
ings.
Most now believe another so-
called "judicial coup" will bring
the government down.
Analysts say the courts and
the country's independent over-
sight agencies all tilt against
the Shinawatra family, and Yin-
gluck's opponents are already
studying legal justifications to
invalidate Sunday's vote.
Protest leader Suthep Thaug-
suban publically assured follow-
ers the ballot will be nullified,
and Verapat Pariyawong, an
independent Harvard-educat-
ed lawyer, said there was "no
doubt" the Constitutional Court
will end up hearing a case to
annul it.
But he said it would be
"absurd" to expect judges to "to
stay strictly within the limits of
the law ... (because) history has
shown that this court is willing
to play politics from the bench."
If the ballot is nullified,
Verapat said there will be "more
blood on the streets," a reference
to the expectation that govern-
ment supporters in the north are
unlikely to sit idle.
Before Thaksin was deposed
in 2006, the Constitutional
Court nullified a similar vote
won by his party about one
month after it had taken place.
The ruling was based partly on
the argument that the position-
ing of ballot booths had compro-
mised voter privacy.
Chuvit Kamolvisit, an inde-
pendent candidate who served as
a lawmaker until Parliament was
dissolved two months ago, called
the crisis gripping Thailand "a
game of power" and accused
Suthep and his supporters of
falsely characterizing their
struggle as an anti-corruption

fight.
Graft "has been a part of Thai
society for a longtime," said Chu-
vit, who made a fortune operat-
ing massage parlors that doubled
as brothels before turning to
politics. "It's a real problem, but
now it's being used an excuse for
politicians to take power."
Suthep was a lawmaker for
more than three decades, he
said, "and what did he do to end
corruption in all that time?"
The burly, outspoken Chuvit
was one of many in the capital
who were unable to cast bal-
lots Sunday. He was physically
assaulted by a group of protesters
in confrontation that devolved
into a knock-down brawl.
"I have to protect my rights,"
Chuvit said. "Thai society has to
learn that to get rights, freedom,
liberty, you need to fight. But the
fight should take place within
the democratic system, not on
the street."

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