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Russia Space Blast Endangers Astronauts, Belarus Border Clashes, Leo’s Beach

👋 ሰላም!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Russia is under fire for blowing up a satellite in space, clashes erupt at the Poland-Belarus border and Leo's Beach opens again. Courtesy of German daily Die Welt, we also look at the reasons behind the major discrepancies in COVID-19 vaccination rates across Europe.

[*Selam, Amharic - Ethiopia]

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The Latest: 50 Dead In Myanmar, Merkel's Defeat, Beyonce's Crowning

Welcome to Monday, where Myanmar's death toll keeps rising, more countries suspend AstraZeneca vaccine and Beyoncé makes Grammy history. Le Monde takes us to northern Morocco where the closure of the border with the Spanish enclave of Ceuta has led to the collapse of an entire ecosystem.

• Myanmar's deadliest day: Myanmar's junta imposed martial law Monday across more districts of the capital city Yangon following the deadliest day of the protests since the coup began, with some 50 fatalities.

• More AstraZeneca doubts: Ireland and the Netherlands become the latest countries to suspend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine over possible side effect concerns, even as a new UK study says the jab does not cause blood clots.

Merkel's party suffers big losses: German Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU party has suffered clear defeats in two key regional elections, as the Green Party and the center-left SPD perform well ahead of national elections in September to pick Merkel's successor.

• Danone CEO forced out: Emmanuel Faber, an unorthodox corporate chief, has been ousted from his positions as Danone's CEO and chairman of the board under pressure from shareholders amid decreasing sales at the French food giant.

Sandstorm hits Beijing: China's capital is choking on yellow dust and sand as the worst sandstorm in a decade sweeps over the city.

Marvelous Marvin Hagler dies: U.S. boxing legend Marvin Hagler died "unexpectedly" Saturday at his home in New Hampshire at age 66.

Beyoncé"s Grammy record: U.S. singer Beyoncé sets a new record at the Grammy Awards with a 28th win, making her the most-awarded woman in the event's history, overtaking country singer Alison Krauss.

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Nailing The Thai Dance

In the Thai capital, I remember being treated to a lavish meal involving a variety of authentic Thai dishes, all the while watching a traditional dance performance. Here, the famous — not to mention peculiar — "fingernail dance."

Ready For Cricket Flour? Ethics And Economics Of Insects As Food Commodity

A Czech entrepreneur is ready to mass-produce insects and turn them into a marketable, protein-rich food staple. Now he just needs buyers.

CHIANG MAI — How do 400 million chirping crickets sound in a huge hall? "Very loud," says Radek Husek, laughing. "It's just deafening right now."

The 25-year-old Czech man is opening the world's largest cricket farm in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Radek's company, Cricket Lab, uses the critters to produce a flour with which it wants to revolutionize the food market.

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Geopolitics
Kannikar Petchkaew

Thailand's Lessons To Ease Deadly Crackdown In Philippines

BANGKOK — Luzviminda Siapo is telling me about the day her 19-year-old son was killed — that was just seven months ago.

He was dragged from his home by 14 masked men and shot in the head twice. Witnesses say he was ordered to run for his life before being shot. "He just couldn't run, he had club feet," Luzviminda told me.

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Geopolitics
Kannikar Petchkaew

In Thailand, Migrant Workers From Myanmar Find Common Ground

Refugees in the border town of Mae Sod are uniting across ethnic lines to defend their rights against unscrupulous employers and Thai authorities keen to send them back.

MAE SOD — Moe Swe was one of the hundreds of thousands of students who, in 1988, took to the streets of Yangon, Myanmar hoping to end three decades of military rule. But the military met their protest with guns. The movement was quickly crushed. Many were killed. Others survived but had to flee.

Like so many of his country's refugees, Moe Swe ran to Thailand, where he began as an unregistered migrant worker in factories and on construction sites. Conditions were poor. He often worked without pay. And with no proper housing, he lived in a shelter that was often targeted by immigration and army officers. To avoid arrest or deportation, he had to bribe officials.

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Bertrand Hauger

Heavily Heavenly

Nirvana comes at a price — and a weight: 5.5 tons of gold, to be more precise, in the case of the Golden Buddha, in Bangkok's Wat Traimit temple.

Geopolitics
Kannikar Petchkaew

Three Years After Coup, No End In Sight For Thailand's Military Rule

BANGKOK — Three years ago, on May 22, 2014, members of parliament gathered to find a solution to Thailand's political crisis. But the politicians were swiftly captured by the army, and sent to military camps.

The country's democratically elected government was overthrown in a military coup, and the coup's leader, General Prayut Chan-o-cha, declared that military rule was necessary to put a lid on escalating political turmoil before it boiled over.

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Gilded Guardian

Behold this mighty Kinnari statue, half-human and half-bird, keeping an eye on Bangkok"s holy Wat Phra Kaew temple.

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Row Power

Navigating the khlong canals of Bangkok is quite a different experience from being on a Venetian gondola. No rowing oars here, but the famous longtail engine – basically a car engine attached to a propeller.

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Of Fallen Armies

These wooden statues of Thai gods and warriors, in a carving workshop in southeastern Thailand"s Sanctuary of Truth, conjure up memories of other immutable soldiers: China's famous Terracotta Army.

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Buddhist Birdhouse?

Flowers and clothes drying are regular features of backyards bordering the khlong canals of Bangkok. This picture, taken from a boat, also shows what is probably a Buddhist shrine of sorts — but definitely looked like a fancy birdhouse to me.

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Thailand Media Mourn King Bhumidol

"The King is dead," writes the Post Today on its black-and-white front page Friday, a day after Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej died in Bangkok at age 88.

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Demon Door

Meet Thotsakan, a demon from the Hindu epic Ramakien guarding one of the entrances to Bangkok's Wat Arun Buddhist temple.

Sources
Kannikar Petchkaew

Lessons For Duterte, Why Thailand Softened Its Drug War

The current deadly war on drugs in the Philippines echoes what happened in Thailand in the early 2000s — massive arrests and a wave of extrajudicial killings. Officials in Bangkok now admit the crackdown didn't work, th

BANGKOK — Winai was just 12 years old when he started taking amphetamine pills. Weeks later, he was buying and selling them too.

"I was addicted to them from my first go," recalls Winai, not his real name. "It felt good, taking the drug and also making money from selling. I bought each pill for 30 baht $0.80 and then sold them for 80 $2.30. So I was getting rich."

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Explosions In Thailand, Questions Of Label

SPOTLIGHT: EXPLOSIONS IN THAILAND, QUESTIONS OF LABEL

Thailand was hit by a series of coordinated blasts across the country last night and early this morning, leaving four people dead and 34 injured. The Bangkok Post reports that the heaviest damage was in the resort town of Hua Hin, where explosions killed two and injured dozens, including foreign tourists. The popular island of Phuket was also targeted in the string of attacks that struck at least five cities on a public holiday marking the queen's birthday.


Tensions were running high in Thailand after last weekend's vote on a new constitution and in the run up to the anniversary of a bombing that killed 22 people in Bangkok last year. "The bombs are an attempt to create chaos and confusion," said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.


What is unclear is who was behind the explosions. "It's too soon to jump to any conclusion," deputy police spokesman Poll Col Krisana Pattanacharoen was quoted as saying by the newspaper. "But what we know for sure is that the incidents are not linked directly to any kinds of terrorism, in fact it's local sabotage and we are trying to identify those responsible behind the scenes."


As we get endless news of attacks from different corners of the world, it's worth taking a step back before jumping to labels of any kind — especially when the motive remains unknown. An article by Süddeutsche Zeitung's Joachim Käppner, translated exclusively into English by Worldcrunch, says that societies often dismiss bombers and terrorists as "insane" and "crazy" but argues that these labels hide an uncomfortable truth: According to forensic experts cited by Käppner, pathologizing such crimes only blurs the culprit's responsibility and stigmatizes those who are truly mentally ill.

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