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January 14, 2014 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-01-14

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6 - Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

6 - Tuesday, January 14, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Protesters boycott election,
block roads in Thai capital

Demonstrators have been held to counter the
shutdown and urge the election
vow to "shut down" be held.
Yingluck said she has pro-
city while political posed to meet Wednesday
with various groups - includ-
negotiation continues ing her opponents - to discuss
a proposal from the Election
BANGKOK (AP) - Anti-gov- Commission to postpone the
ernment protesters seized key elections, according to Deputy
intersections across Thailand's Prime Minister Pongthep Thep-
capital on Monday, blockading kanchana.
major roads into the heart of There was no immediate
Bangkok's downtown districts response from demonstra-
at the start of a renewed push to tors, but protest leader Suthep
derail elections next month and Thaugsuban said, "you cannot
overthrow the prime minister. mediate with this undertaking,
The protesters vowed to "shut you cannot compromise with
down" the cityof 12 million peo- this undertaking. In this under-
ple, but life continued normally taking, there's only win or lose
inmost places, with the majority ... today, we must cleanse Thai-
of businesses and shops open. land."
The intensified protests were The International Cri-
peaceful and even festive, as vast sis Group think tank said the
swarms of people blew whistles, "scope for peaceful resolution is
waved Thai flags and spread out narrowing."
tents and picnic mats at seven "If the sides can agree on
key crossroads where demon- the need to avoid violence and
strators wearing bandanas and for a national dialogue built
sunglasses turned cars back. on a shared agenda, a solution
Still, the protests raise the might just possibly be found,"
stakes in a long-running crisis the group said. "It is a slim reed
that has killed at least eight peo- on which to float hopes, but in
ple in the last two months and Bangkok there is little else avail-
fueled fears of more bloodshed able."
to come and a possible army The United States said Mon-
coup. The army commander has day its ambassador and officials
said he doesn't want to be drawn are engaged with "the full range
into the conflict, which broadly of interested parties to encour-
pits the urban middle and upper age dialogue and a peaceful,
class opponents of Prime Minis- democratic, political resolu-
ter Yingluck Shinawatra against tion." State Department spokes-
her supporters in the poorer woman Marie Harf said the
northern countryside. U.S. is urging all sides to refrain
The demonstrators, who from violence, and applauds the
accuse the government of cor- restraint shown so far by gov-
ruption, have vowed to stay in ernment authorities.
the streets for as long as it takes Since Yingluck assumed the
to achieve their goals. They premiership after 2011 elec-
are demanding that Yingluck's tions, she has walked a careful
administration be replaced by tightrope with the army and
a non-elected "people's coun- her opponents that succeeded in
cil" which would implement maintaining political calm. The
reforms they say are needed to trigger for the latest protests
end corruption and money poli- was an ill-advised move late last
tics. The main opposition party year by ruling party lawmakers
is boycotting Feb. 2 elections to push through a bill under the
that Yingluck has called in a bid guise of a reconciliation mea-
to ease tension - and which she sure offering a legal amnesty
would almost certainly win., for political offenders. The last-
Critic, kav lashed ou-at -minute inclusion of Thaksinpled
the mo as power struggle to public outrage and the bill
aimed at ringing the Southeast was voted dSw. 0
Asian nation's fragile democ- Since then, demonstrators
racy to ahalt. Candlelight vigils have steadily escalated pressure

on Yingluck, attackingher office
at Government House and the
city's police headquarters for
several days in December with
slingshots and homemade rock-
et launchers.
There are fears the protest-
ers are trying to incite violence
to prompt the military to inter-
vene, and Yingluck has dealt
softly with the demonstrators in
a bid to keep the situation calm.
There was no effort by police to
stop Monday's seizure of major
traffic intersections.
The country's powerful army
commander has repeatedly said
he wants to stay out of the con-
flict, but in a sign of apparent
impatience late last month, he
refused to rule out the possibil-
ity of a military takeover.
The real target of the protest-
ers' wrath is Yingluck's brother,
former Prime Minister Thaksin
Shinawatra, who lives in self-
imposed exile to avoid jail time
for a corruption conviction but
still wields considerable sway
over Thai politics. They accuse
Yingluck of being Thaksin's
puppet, but the rural poor like
him for the populist policies he
implemented, including virtu-
ally free health care.
"I'm here to get rid of Thaksin
and his cronies," said Darunee
Suredechakul, a 49-year-old
Bangkok native and resort
owner who is staying in a hotel
so she and her daughter can
join the protests. "The govern-
ment has to go. Reforms must
be carried out. This is mainly
because we don't want to see the
same old corrupted politicians
returning to power over and
over again."
While she acknowledged the
street blockades must be creat-
ing some headaches for people,
"Bangkok residents must be
patient until we move past this
point so that our children will
not have to suffer like we do.
Trust me. It's worth it," she said.
Most Thai and international
schools in Bangkok were closed
Monday, as was at least one
major shopping mall.
Enterprising residents set up
makeshift booths to sell drinks,
skewers of chicken and bowls of
noodles, while others hawked
whistles, caps and T-shirts.

An Egyptian worker sits on boxes of ballots while receiving a list of polling stations from a colleague, at the Giza courthouse,
in Cairo, Egypt, Monday.
Egyptian mi litary oversees
referendum ongav. charter

Opposing party
members arrested
for protesting
campaign efforts
CAIRO (AP) - Egyptians are
being asked to vote this week on
a vision of their nation's future
sponsored by the powerful mili-
tary, a two-day election widely
seen as a referendum on a likely
presidential run by the country's
top general - but held in a cli-
mate of fear and intimidation.
An astounding 160,000 sol-
diers and 200,000 policemen
were expected to deploy across
Egypt on Tuesday and Wednes-
day to guard polling stations
and voters following months of
violence that authorities have
blamed on Islamic militants.
Supporters of Mohammed
Morsi, the Islamist president
ousted in a coup last summer,
have said they would stage mas-
sive demonstrations and boycott
the vote on a new constitution.
In many ways, Egypt looks
more like a country going to war
rather than one preparing for
what is supposedly a transition
to democratic rule. The govern-
ment and the overwhelmingly
pro-military media have por-
trayed the balloting as the key to

the nation's security and stabil-
ity over which there can be no
Hundreds of thousands of
fliers, posters, banners and bill-
boards exhort Egyptians to vote
"yes." Posters urging a 'no' vote
have led to arrests.
"There appears to be a con-
viction among security officers
that there should be zero accom-
modation for anyone who wants
a 'no' vote," said Heba Morayef,
the Egypt director for Human
Rights Watch.
Authorities have threatened
legal proceedings against the
owners of cyber cafes, presses
and stationery stores if they
allow use of their facilities for
the production of 'no' fliers
or posters, according to secu-
rity officials. They said police
commanders have instructed
officers to arrest anyone distrib-
utingleaflets or hanging banners
against the draft charter. The
officials spoke on condition of
anonymity in exchange for dis-
cussing security operations.
"We are trying to mobilize
the 'yes' vote. Anyone doing
the opposite is a traitor and an
American agent," said Moham-
med Hamdy, a politician and
local dignitary from the city of
Assiut, an Islamist stronghold
with a large Christian commu-
nity south of Cairo.

In Washington, U.S. State
Department deputy spokes-
woman Marie Harf said Mon-
day: "We're deeply concerned
by reports of ongoing arrests for
campaigning for a 'no' vote on
the constitutional referendum.
We are also deeply troubled by
reports that at least one indi-
vidual was beaten during his
The referendum is the sixth
nationwide vote since the 2011
ouster of longtime authoritar-
ian ruler Hosni Mubarak, with
the five others possibly the fre-
est ever seen in Egypt. While
unlikely to be stained by fraud,
this week's vote is taking place
at a time when many of the free-
doms won in the uprising that
toppled Mubarak have vanished
in the months since Morsi was
removed after just one year in
The government has detained
thousands of Brotherhood mem-
bers including Morsi and most
of the group's leaders. Recently,
the notorious domestic security
agency set up hotlines for citi-
zens to report members of the
Brotherhood, which the gov-
ernment has declared a terror-
ist group. For their part, Morsi's
supporters have been waging
-near-daily protests since the
popularly backed July 3 coup
that ousted him.

RELEASE DATE-Tuesday, January 14,2014
Los Angeles Times Daily Crof
Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nici
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everyone in the Charleston
metropolitan area is cleared to
use the water, though officials
said the water in certain des-
ignated areas was safe to drink
and wash with as long as people
flushed out their systems. They
cautioned that the water may
still have a slight licorice-type
odor to it, raising the anxieties
of some who believed it was still
"I'm not going to drink it. I'll
shower in it and do dishes in it.
But I won't drink it. I don't think
it's (the chemical) all out," said
Angela Stone, who started the
30-minute or so process of flush-
ing her system out soon after the
ban was lifted.
By Monday evening, officials
had given the green light to
about 15 percent of West Vir-
ginia American Water's custom-
ers, and company spokeswoman
Laura Jordan said as much as
25 percent of its customer base
could have water by the end of
the day.
The water crisis shuttered

showed a very small portion in
blue and a vast area across nine
counties still in the 'do not use'
Customers were credited with
1,000 gallons of water, which
was likely more than enough to
flush out a system. The average
residential customer uses about
3,300 gallons per month.
Some people said they weren't
worried about the odor.
"It's not goingto bother me as
long as we know it's clean," said
Peter Triplett, a state library
commission worker whose home
was near the first area allowed
to use water. "It's been rough
The first area cleared was
downtown Charleston, the state
capital and its largest city. Hos-
pitals were open and flushing
out systems, but schools were to
stay closed Tuesday.
The water crisis started
Thursday when a chemical used
in coal processing leaked from
a Freedom Industries plant into
the nearby Elk River.




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