Archive for the ‘June’ Category

Opposition Commanders Have Admitted They Killed 25 Government Soldiers In June 2021

August 30, 2021

In June, two senior commanders of the Karen National Defence Organization (KNDO) admitted that security forces under their control detained and later killed 25 men in their territory near Myanmar’s border with Thailand, Fortify Rights reports.
Both Lieutenant Saw Ba Wah and General Ner Dah Bo Mya were suspended from their posts, but they told Fortify Rights that their men were responsible.
General Ner Dah Bo Mya denied wrongdoing, saying the men, who were not armed and not in uniform, were “spies” for the military and that his troops “had to finish them up, otherwise they try to run away during the fighting and then they would come back and it would be very hard for us.” The order came from a “captain of intelligence” at the Karen National Union (KNU) – the political group that controls the KNDO – the general added.
Fortify Rights said the KNU had confirmed they would cooperate with international investigators and share evidence of the killing and other crimes, as well as conducting its own investigation into the atrocities.
A war crime has been committed. Fortify Rights was announced on Tuesday.
Matthew Smith, the CEO of Fortify Rights, said in a statement that this was a massacre that should be investigated and prosecuted. The KNU is setting an important example of transparency, cooperation, and commitment to sharing evidence of atrocities with international justice mechanisms.”
In June, state media accused fighters from the KNDO of killing 25 civilians working on a road construction project.
The men were among 47 people, including 16 women and children, that the KNDO detained on May 31 in Kanele village in Karen state. The 25 men were killed on June 1, and the rest of the group was released a week later, Fortify Rights reported.
Besides interviewing General Ner Dah Bo Mya and Lieutenant Saw Ba Wah, the rights group also consulted a representative from the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), a member of Karen civil society, and independent analysts about the events of June 1.
There has been turmoil in Myanmar since the military seized power in a coup on February 1, with the KNU, one of the country’s largest ethnic armed groups, providing shelter to those fighting against the takeover.
Karen fighters seized a military post, and the army retaliated with airstrikes, the first in more than 20 years, causing 100,000 people to flee their homes, according to the UN.
In its crackdown on the anti-coup movement, the military has been accused of human rights abuses, with 1,000 killed since the coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

Myanmar Military Is Preparing For New Crackdown

August 22, 2021

As the military junta has ordered its unit commanders and other senior officers to prepare for combat, the crackdown on its opponents is likely to intensify in the coming days. There has been an increase in daily unrest, including killings and bombings carried out by anti-regime civilian fighters against regime troops and their associates throughout the country.
The Irrawaddy reported that the order was sent to commanders last week. The order was issued directly by the military’s top command in Naypyitaw, the capital.
In the message, the commanders were also warned that terrorists might intercept their messages, and they were instructed to use jamming devices. They were also instructed to remain in combat mode at all times.
People of all walks of life opposed the military rule after the coup in February. After the junta’s brutal crackdown on protesters, many young people have taken up arms.arms. Since then, anyone who opposes the regime has been branded a terrorist.
Commanders were instructed to set up more checkpoints and to launch surprise checks in residential areas in response to this order.
Across the country, including in Yangon, bloody attacks against the regime have become more frequent this month. A rail train carrying policemen was attacked last week by four unknown attackers on Yangon’s Circular Railway, highlighting the bloody reality that civilian resistance against the junta has yet to wane, more than six months into the regime’s rule. The regime in upper Myanmar admitted that aircraft were damaged during an attack on an airbase. In response, the junta conducted more night raids and manhunts. A joint force of police and military personnel arrested at least 15 young people in Yangon this week. They looted goods and valuables from homes while doing so.
Raids have led to deaths in some cases. To avoid being captured by the junta in Yangon, five young people jumped from a building on Aug. 10. There were two deaths, among them a young woman, and three injuries and arrests. Three injured persons have been hospitalized by the military regime, but their families have been denied access to them.
The attacks against the junta are mostly carried out by loosely organized resistance forces, mostly known as the People’s Defense Force (PDF), in Yangon and elsewhere. They have used homemade weapons, grenades, and guns. The regime has branded them “terrorists” who are destabilizing the country.
Myanmar’s junta designated the shadow National Unity Government (NUG) and its affiliated Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) as terrorist groups in May 2021, blocking any direct the organization’s efforts to promote democracy.
Eventually, the NUG formed the People’s Defense Force (PDF), saying it was necessary to stop killings and other violent acts against the people committed by the junta, which calls itself the State Administration Council. The NUG’s Defense Ministry said many youth members are being trained.
According to analysts and diplomats in Yangon, the regime is concerned about coordinated attacks in the countryside and in the city. Residents report seeing more security personnel on busy streets and inside buildings, including plainclothes soldiers and police.
In the countryside, the military’s security forces frequently clash with PDF members and ethnic militias.
In June 2021, in response to increasing attacks and assassinations, the junta formed Pyu Saw Htee groups around the country, reportedly with the support of the military, to combat the anti-regime movement. The first PDF was formed in mid-May after the formation of the PDFs.
Since the coup in February, Myanmar has been in turmoil, and the junta hasn’t been able to restore stability. So far, over 1,000 people have been killed and over 4,000 have been detained.

Parent Group in UK Believes That Roblox Is Exploiting Its Child Customers

August 22, 2021

Children’s game platform Roblox is exploiting its younger users, according to a new investigation from People Makes Games.
Roblox has 200 million users a month, and its core audience is between the ages of 9 and 15.
Roblox users can make money from games they create on the platform, but the company gives them a much smaller cut of the revenue than is industry standard.
Developers earn 24.5% of their revenue on Roblox, compared to 70% on Steam, and 88% on the Epic Games Store.
It is not easy for users’ games to become popular and profitable after release. There are very few discovery features on the platform, and the home page usually displays about 1,000 popular games.
According to the investigation, creators can either hope that their games can gain popularity organically, or they can pay Roblox to feature their game on the front page.
Robux, the in-game currency, is required for advertising. Robux can be purchased using real money or earned by selling games and content.
Users can then bid with virtual money for the chance to have an ad slot for their game.
People Make Games spoke with a creator who said the possibility of making a popular and profitable game is similar to that of a Tiktok video or meme going viral.
Users who want to cash out their earnings into a real bank account need at least 100,000 Robux, which costs about $1,000. Since Roblox converts at a 1% rate, the creator receives only $350 when cashing out.
Consumers with Roblox premium subscriptions, which cost $5 per month, can also withdraw funds.
A parent watchdog group wrote a warning about Roblox’s “casino-level” spending in June 2021.

UN Agency Reports That 2020 Was The Deadliest Year For Rohingya Refugees

August 21, 2021

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reports the year 2020 was the deadliest ever for Rohingya refugees crossing the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea, the preferred sea route for Rohingya trying to reach Southeast Asia from the sprawling refugee camps in Bangladesh.
218 of the 2,413 people who traveled in 2020 died or went missing at sea, according to a UNHCR report issued on Thursday, Left Adrift at Sea: Dangerous Journeys of Refugees Across the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. This made an already dangerous journey eight times more deadly than in 2019.
Southeast Asian countries have become increasingly hesitant to accept Rohingya refugees, citing the COVID-19 outbreak as a reason not to accept them.
In its report, the agency noted that countries had “pushed back” vessels, leaving refugees stranded for months on unseaworthy boats which lacked food and water.
Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said in June 2020 that the economic downturn caused by the pandemic prevented Malaysia from taking Rohingya in. There are more than 100,000 Rohingya in Malaysia, and they are left to survive on their own with the support of civil society and community groups. Malaysia is not a signatory to the UN Convention on Refugees. They cannot work and have limited access to health care and education.
UNHCR called on all states in the region to look for and rescue refugees in distress at sea and allow them to disembark to safety.
It also called on countries in the region to provide access to asylum procedures for those who disembark and to address the root causes of refugee maritime movements, such as expanding access to safe legal pathways.
Earlier this week, a boat carrying about 40 Rohingya refugees capsized in bad weather in the Bay of Bengal after trying to escape Bhasan Char. About 14 people were rescued and taken back to the island, but more than two dozen others are believed to have drowned.
After drifting for more than 100 days at sea, a boat carrying 81 people washed ashore on an uninhabited island off the Indonesian island of Sumatra in June 2021. Refugee workers report that the group, many of whom are women and children, had originally come from Bangladesh camps to the waters off India’s coast. When their boat broke down, the Indian coastguard fixed it and provided supplies, but refused to let them land.

Thai Bits: Thai Health Organization Does Not Trust Antigen Test Kits, Thai Investors Are Advised To Invest In Value Stocks

August 13, 2021

Health Organizations Are Going To Test Antigen Test Kits

Despite doubts about their ability to detect Covid-19 infections, the Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) has postponed its purchase of 8.5 million antigen test kits, each costing 70 baht, to test their quality.
Dr. Kiatiphum Wongrajit, permanent secretary for health and chairman of the GPO, said on Thursday that a media organization expressed its concern over the quality of the chosen devices. As a result, the GPO and the Food and Drug Administration will check their quality first, he said.
According to Dr. Kiatiphum, Rajavithi Hospital has requested that the GPO urgently procure 8.5 million antigen test kits in order to conduct initial Covid-19 tests. Specifications of the test kits are set by the hospital and the National Health Security Office.
He said the GPO had chosen a supplier certified by the FDA but had not yet signed a contract. The cost of the test kits, including VAT, was set at 70 baht.
Rural Doctors Society said on Thursday that the GPO’s selection was based on price, not on the quality and accuracy of the test kits.

Thai Investors Get Advice From A Thai Research Firm

Thai investors should focus their picks on value stocks to reinforce an economic recovery after an inflow of US$720 billion into US mutual funds over the past six months, according to Morningstar Research Thailand.
From May to June, US mutual funds recorded net inflows of $100 billion.
Value stock funds have received more attention from investors than growth stock funds, with US equity funds posting $18 billion in net inflows in June after a very small net inflow over the previous two months.
Large-cap blend, a category that includes both growth and value stocks covering a variety of industries, saw the most inflows in June at $6.8 billion.
According to Morningstar, the large blend had the most net inflows with a total value of $50 billion for the first half of the year.
Growth stock funds for the large, medium, and small categories saw some outflows because investors collected profits from strong returns over the past few years.
In the first six months of this year, the Morningstar US Market Broad Value Index returned 16.9%, higher than the Morningstar US Market Broad Growth Index’s 13.4%.
Morningstar said passive funds are clearly more attractive than active ones.
In the first half of this year, US active equity funds reported $88 billion in inflows, with ARK Innovation ETF leading the group with $7.4 billion. Investors in passive funds reported $16 billion in inflows, led by the Vanguard 500 index VFINX with $15 billion.
Global equity funds saw inflows of around $20 billion (which includes US equity, sector equity, and international equity).
China saw the second-highest growth rate in the international equity category at 18.2%, similar to the diversified emerging markets group with a high proportion of Chinese stocks.
Inflows into short-term bond funds are still greater than those into volatile interest funds.
Taxable bond funds continued to be the top category for net inflows in June, with $48 billion, bringing the total to $340 billion for the first half of the year.
Thai mutual fund markets follow a similar trend to those in the US. After the US economic recovery, money has been flowing into bond funds, especially short-term bonds in the US, while Chinese stock inflows have slowed.

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Myanmar Military Says That They DId Not Participate In Kidnapping Plot In US

August 11, 2021

According to state media, Myanmar’s military played no role in the alleged plot to attack the country’s UN ambassador, who has defied the military and supported the pro-democracy movement. The country’s foreign ministry has called for his extradition.
Despite the military’s insistence that he no longer represent Myanmar at the world body in New York after its coup in February, Kyaw Moe Tun made headlines.
U.S. prosecutors said last week that they had charged two Myanmar citizens in relation to an alleged plot to hire hitmen to force him to resign or, if he refused, kill him.
In the military rulers’ first comment on the case, the state-backed Myanmar newspaper Global New Light said on Tuesday that Myanmar had nothing to do with the incident.
“The alleged plot … took place within the borders of the United States.”
It added that actions should be taken in accordance with the law of the land.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US ambassador to the UN, said the plot fitted a “disturbing pattern” of authoritarian leaders and their supporters attempting to persecute their opponents on a global scale.
The US stands in solidarity with Kyaw Moe Tun and commends his “remarkable courage and courage”.
Myanmar’s foreign ministry, however, said it “strongly rejects” Thomas Greenfield’s statement.
Phyo Hein Htut, 28, and Ye Hein Zaw, 20, are facing charges in federal court in which they could be sentenced to up to five years in prison.
Phyo Hein Htut was in contact with an arms dealer in Thailand who had dealings with military officials in Myanmar, according to prosecutors.
According to the criminal complaint, the arms dealer discussed hiring assailants for the plot, which involved forcing the ambassador’s car to crash.

Some Details About Super Robot Wars 30

July 12, 2021

While Bandai Namco made a grand reveal of Super Robot Wars 30 at the series’ 30th-anniversary stream, long-time fans of the series may have noticed a total lack of a new Super Robot Wars: Original Generation game that would be usually reserved for major anniversary milestones. At the end of the stream’s game information segment, the Super Robot Wars series producer Takanobu Terada revealed that there are no plans to release a new SRW OG game in the immediate future.
As quoted by Famitsu, Terada confirmed that he is currently creating plots for a new Original Generation game. However, due to constraints on game development caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Bandai Namco ordered his team to focus on Super Robot Wars 30 and the SRW DD mobile game. Development for the new OG game is not expected to begin until the team has completed its work on SRW 30.
The Super Robot Wars: Original Generation series are technically the only SRW titles that can receive Western releases, due to the lack of licensing issues that would have been present in the mainline titles. Atlus handled English releases of the two Original Generation games on Game Boy Advance in 2006 and the Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier spin-off on Nintendo DS in 2009.
The latest OG game released to date is Super Robot Wars OG: The Moon Dwellers, released for PlayStation 3 and 4 in 2016 to mark the series’ 25th anniversary. While Bandai Namco also released an English version of The Moon Dwellers, it was only available officially in Southeast Asia.

Bandai Namco has also revealed more details on Super Robot Wars 30 at the Super Robot Wars 30th Anniversary live stream. After the initial reveal at E3 2021 Nintendo Direct teased a portion of the game’s content, today’s stream unveiled the full title roster for the game. Super Robot Wars 30 will also have a different storyline system from most of the recent series releases.

Title Roster
Super Robot Wars 30 will feature a total of 22 titles. The ones in bold are titles that make their overall SRW debuts with this game. Note that while this marks the console debuts for Gundam Narrative, Majestic Prince, and Code Geass: Lelouch of the Resurrection, Bandai Namco did not consider them as brand-new because they had appeared in the mobile game Super Robot Wars X-Omega.

Super Electromagnetic Robot Combattler V
Mobile Suit Gundam (mechs only)
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam
Z-MSV (mechs only)
Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack
M-MSV (mechs only)
Mobile Suit Victory Gundam
Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative
Heavy Metal L-Gaim
Brave Police J-Decker
King of Braves GaoGaiGar Final (mechs only)
King of Destruction: GaoGaiGar VS Betterman
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion Movie III – Glorification (mechs only)
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;surrection
Getter Robo Armageddon
Mazinger Z: Infinity
Mazinkaiser Infinitism (mechs only)
Magic Knight Rayearth
Gun X Sword
Galactic Armored Fleet Majestic Prince
Knight’s & Magic
SSSS.Gridman

Buzz Capital Investment in Gaming Companies Turns Out Well

July 5, 2021

A second-round equity raise by Buzz Capital has generated £500k for Dream Harvest and Fundamentally Games.

Premiere Capital led the round, with additional support from Buzz Capital.

Both firms are UK-based; Dream Harvest was founded in 2015, and the firm is currently developing Neuroslicers and Neuronet: Mendax Proxy.

The company, founded in 2019, provides user acquisition and publishing support for live games.

“We are grateful for the continued support of Premiere and Buzz Capital, long-term partners of Dream Harvest who share our vision for the studio,” said Dream Harvest CEO Justin French.

Creating worlds with amazing characters and stories, told through games that push genres in new, bold directions while providing a community-centered experience.”

Ella Romanos, of Fundamentally Games, added: “We’re thrilled that Buzz and Premiere have doubled down on their support of Fundamentally Games at these early stages, not only through our UA funding partnership for games we publish but now through a second equity raise.

We’ve made good progress over the last year and to have a partner who believes in us and who is on the same journey with us is something that any company would be lucky to have and that shows their commitment not only to us but to the UK games industry as well.”

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Myanmar People Now Have To Worry About Dying from COVID-19 or The Myanmar Military

June 30, 2021

Recently, there were a record number of COVID-19 cases with 1,225 positive tests from 6,586 conducted tests and 12 deaths, the highest number since May/

More than 1,200 cases have been reported since June 12,

According to the junta-controlled health ministry, Myanmar had 154,385 COVID-19 cases with 3,309 deaths. The ministry has issued stay-at-home orders in 11 townships in Sagaing and Bago regions as well as in Chin and Shan states.

As health care staff joined the civil disobedience movement (CDM), refusing to work for the military regime, COVID-19 testing dropped. Since Feb. 8, the regime has called on the health staff to return to work.

In January, approximately 16,000 to 18,000 swab tests were conducted a day by the ousted civilian government of the National League for Democracy.

The number of tests administered per day decreased to a bit over 1,500 between February and early June.

Since June 12, 2021, the number of daily swab tests has risen again between 3,000 and 7,000.

Most cases have been reported in border towns with India, China, and Bangladesh. The junta has yet to introduce effective measures to curb the spread of the virus in Myanmar’s borders.

Since June 1, the health ministry has distributed over 12 million surgical masks and conducted health awareness activities.

Three mutant coronavirus strains have been detected in Myanmar, including the Delta strain from India.

The junta is expanding quarantine centers, opening dedicated hospital wards and promoting vaccines from China and India.

Myanmar’s COVID-19 vaccine program has also struggled under the junta, as millions of civilians refuse the jab, and thousands of health workers have gone on strike and joined the CDM.

On January 27, the NLD began a nationwide vaccination program for COVID-19 using vaccines donated by AstraZeneca. Health care staff and volunteers received shots first.

Since the military took over on Feb. 1, almost all health workers have refused to receive the second vaccination in protest.

In May, the regime claimed that more than 1.7 million citizens had received two vaccinations.

Many people have refused to get inoculated because they distrust the quality control of the COVID-19 vaccines.

In the absence of the needed vaccines, the lawyers representing State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in her Naypyitaw trials have to test for the HIV virus every time they travel. They need a certificate proofing that their tests are negative for this virus.

American Expats In Thailand Are Being Urged To Call US Senatos So US Citizens Can Get Vaccines At US Embassies

June 30, 2021

Covid-19 vaccines are still being sought by some Americans living overseas in Thailand. Democratic Abroad Thailand is urging American expats to contact their senators and ask them to support the allocation of vaccines to citizens overseas. The ex-pat group’s Covid-19 Vaccine Task Force will hold a Zoom meeting tomorrow evening to discuss the call to action.
Recently, the US Embassy in Thailand’s Charge d’Affaires issued a statement saying the US Department of State is not able to provide vaccines for the millions of Americans living abroad.
In response to the news, 26 US senators urged Secretary of State Antony Blinken to include the 9 million Americans living abroad in the government’s global effort.
 In addition to Thailand, the US government is donating 500 million vaccine doses to 92 countries with low to lower-middle incomes. Senators urged Blinken to donate supplemental doses to US embassies and consulates in those countries so that US citizens could be vaccinated.
In order to optimize the distribution of those additional doses, we encourage you to prioritize countries where Americans have been deemed ineligible or low priority in national vaccination deployment plans, as well as countries that are currently not distributing U.S. vaccinations. The vaccine must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization.
Democratic Abroad Thailand is urging American expats to contact their senators and urge them to join the initiative before July 4. Here is a suggestion…
“I am a constituent currently living in Thailand where foreigners do not have access to US FDA-approved Covid-19 vaccines. I would urge you to sign the letter that Senators Murphy and Moran sent on June 24 to Secretary of State Blinken asking him to “take concrete steps toward vaccinating the nine million Americans living abroad.”
The US government has been pushed to provide vaccines to Thai citizens by ex-pat groups in recent months. Democrats Abroad Thailand, Republicans Overseas Thailand, the American Women’s Club of Thailand, and Veterans of Foreign Wars have collaborated to push for US government officials to include Thai citizens living abroad in global vaccinations.

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