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Daily Archives: November 27, 2008

One killed in clash between Thai protest groups

 Image A man was killed in a clash between pro- and anti-government supporters in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai yesterday, shortly after the prime minister arrived in the city, police said.

Fighting between the rival groups broke out after premier Somchai Wongsawat flew in from a foreign trip to receive the news that the army chief had asked him to call elections in a bid to end months of political protests.
“There was an argument between a red shirt group and a yellow group in front of the radio station and a man was attacked and killed,” Lieutenant Colonel Atipong Thongdaeng of Chiang Mai police said. He said it was not clear whether the victim was from a pro-government group, which usually wear red clothes, or if he was part of
the movement against Somchai’s administration, which is often clad in yellow.

More on Page 10

Somali pirates urge ‘honest’ talks to free Saudi tanker

Somali pirates demanding 25 million dollars for a Saudi supertanker seized 11 days ago demanded stepped up and "honest" negotiations to free the vessel.
Mohammed Said, the leader of the group which 11 days ago captured the Sirius Star, carrying two million barrels of crude oil, said that protracted talks were neither helping them, the ship's owners or the crew.
"We are urging the owners of the Saudi tanker to have an honest dialogue in order to end the crisis," he said.
"We need them (vessel's owners) to call their captain and our members on the Sirius Star so we can speed up the negotiations.
"Too much delay is not good for us and for the owners of the tanker and the crew as well. We are not threatening them but we are urging them to be honest."
The pirates have given a November 30 deadline for the ransom to be paid for the 330-metre oil carrier.
Said on Tuesday said that talks with the ship's owners were continuing and that the crew was being treated well.
"We're treating the people on the ship very courteously and this will not change unless the other side behaves aggressively," he added.
Two British crew members have backed up the claim.
"Everything is OK, we've got no mistreatment or anything, we're being treated quite well," Peter French, the chief engineer on the Sirius Star, told ITV News television by telephone.
He said the pirates were "no problem whatsoever", adding: "Hopefully we are going to get some more phone calls to our families soon. Our families don't have too much to worry about at the moment."
Second officer James Grady said the 25-strong crew were not being allowed on deck. But while he said their captors were heavily armed, he said they appeared "quite relaxed" and had not hurt the hostages.
It was unclear whether the pirates were present during the interview.
The pirates have been in the world's spotlight since hijacking the Sirius Star.
The international community has been rushing naval ships to the region in a bid to combat piracy, vowing tough action against a surge in attacks which is threatening major disruptions in international trade.
Somali pirates have carried out around 100 attacks in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean since the start of this year. They still hold 17 ships and more than 250 crew.