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alan lee - DMA Classes
Thai Protest Leaders Call
For End To Rally
Associated Press/AP
Photography by Vincent Yu
BANGKOK, Thailand — Thai
TV news channels have reported
that leaders of ongoing anti-government protests in Bangkok have
called for an end to the demonstrations after two days of rioting.
Thai channels TPBS and The
Nation say protest leaders speaking to a rally Tuesday outside
the prime minister’s office told
protesters to go home.
AP reporters at Government
House saw protesters beginning
to file out of the area.
Troops in combat gear had surrounded Government House,
where protesters had earlier
vowed to make a “final stand”
in their goal to unseat the Thai
prime minister.
By nightfall Monday, clashes that
had gripped several parts of the
city had ebbed. Two people died
and more than 120 people were
injured.
Anti-government demonstrators
vowing a “final stand” unless
Thailand’s government resigns
fought bloody street battles with
troops in the capital, then clashed
with residents angry about the
disruptions, leaving two people
dead.
Troops drove back rampaging
protesters with warning shots
from automatic weapons, and by
killed in the day’s battles.
Abhisit said the news that two
people had been killed and 12
wounded in a gunbattle between
protesters and residents at Nang
Lerng market was “a regrettable
incident.” But he said that “with
the cooperation of the public, I
believe success is near.”
Two people died and more
than 120 people were injured.
nightfall Monday, clashes that had
gripped several parts of the city,
wounding 113 people, had ebbed.
But as the demonstrators tried to
make their way back to their base,
deadly fighting erupted between
them and residents.
Political tensions have simmered
since 2006 when Thaksin was
ousted by a military coup amid accusations of corruption and abuse
of power. He remains popular in
the impoverished countryside for
his populist policies.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva
praised the efforts of security
forces, saying they used “soft
means” and “prevented as much
damage as possible,” though
ousted former Prime Minister
Thaksin Shinawatra — the man
most protesters consider their
leader — accused the military of
covering up the number of people
Since then, political tensions have
run high between his supporters,
known as “red shirts,” and the
so-called “yellow shirts,” a mix of
royalists, academics, professionals
and retired military who oppose
the former prime minister.
Last year, the yellow shirts shut
down Bangkok’s two main air
the vendors were giving food and
water to the soldiers and cheering
them on,” he said. “The vendors
in the evening became more angry
when protesters threatened to
burn down their houses. Both
sides were armed.”
Earlier Monday, protesters hijacked and torched public buses
to block several key intersections,
set tires and vehicles on fire and
sent two unmanned buses, one
of them burning, hurtling toward
lines of soldiers.
ports, ending their demonstrations only after a court disqualified the pro-Thaksin prime minister for electoral fraud. Abhisit was
later appointed prime minister.
state-of-emergency measures that
ban gatherings of more than five
people.
Monday’s fighting came as protesters moved back toward their
base outside the prime minister’s
The red shirts took to the streets
last month, using tactics similar to offices at Government House,
those of their rivals last year. They where they have been holding
out since March 26. An estimated
accuse the country’s elite — the
5,000 protesters are gathered
military, judiciary and other unthere.
elected officials — of interfering
in politics, and are seeking Thaksin’s rehabilitation. Their numbers Hundreds of protesters and
residents faced off outside the
grew to 100,000 in Bangkok last
market, Police Col. Rangsan Praweek.
ditpon said, and hurled Molotov
cocktails and shot at one another.
Protesters have been stationed at
It was not clear who fired first.
a half-dozen points in Bangkok,
“The protesters were upset that
defying government-imposed
They hurled a small explosive
into the Army Headquarters
compound, burning an armored
vehicle, and when a building in
the Education Ministry compound caught fire, they attempted
to block approaching fire trucks.
In a confrontation near Victory
Monument, a major traffic circle,
a line of troops in full battle gear
fired volleys of M-16 fire over the
heads of protesters, and turned
water cannons on the crowd.
The army spokesman said troops
fired blanks into the crowds and
live shots overhead. But in an
appearance on CNN, Thaksin
— who most of the protesters
consider their leader — accused
the military of lying, saying soldiers used live ammunition, killed
protesters and dragged away their
bodies.
“This will be our final stand. I
beg that you return here and face
them together,” protest leader
Jatuporn Phromphan shouted
from a stage at the protest site.
“They shot people. Many died.
Many people were injured,” he
said.Abhisit dismissed Thaksin’s
assertion, saying “if there were
that many people killed, it would
not have escaped the eye of the
media.”The government said the
day’s clashes had killed two and
wounded 113.
Army spokesman Col. Sansern
Kaewkamnerd said some of the
6,000 troops deployed in Bangkok were heading to the vicinity
around the seat of government
and police had set up roadblocks
to prevent more protesters from
joining in.
With their lines weakened by the
military elsewhere in the city, protest leaders called on the red shirts
to retreat to Government House.
Abhisit said he would listen to
demonstrators at Government
House who had engaged in peaceful and legal protest.
The sight of the army moving in
on protesters was in stark contrast to the total lapse of security
that occurred over the weekend,
when a 16-nation Asian summit
was canceled after demonstrators
stormed the venue.
This week’s clashes, combined
with November’s airport shutdown, will likely slash the country’s tourism revenue by a third
this year, or 200 billion baht ($5.6
billion), said Kongkrit Hiranyakit,
chairman of the Tourism Council
of Thailand.
Several countries issued travel
advisories Monday, and the U.S.
Embassy urged Americans “to
avoid the areas of demonstrations
and to exercise caution anywhere
in Bangkok.”
Monday marked the beginning
of the Thai New Year, normally
the country’s most joyous holiday.
The Bangkok municipal government canceled all its festivities,
but despite the rioting many Thais
and foreign tourists began engaging in ritualistic water throwing
and general partying.
DIGITAL PIRATES
WINNING BATTLE
WITH STUDIOS
By BRIAN STELTER and BRAD STONE
On the day last July when
“The Dark Knight” arrived in
theaters, Warner Brothers was
ready with an ambitious antipiracy
campaign that involved months
of planning and steps to monitor
each physical copy of the film.
The campaign failed miserably. By
the end of the year, illegal copies
of the Batman movie had been
downloaded more than seven
million times around the world,
according to the media measurement firm BigChampagne, turning it into a visible symbol of
Hollywood’s helplessness against
the growing problem of online
video piracy.
The culprits, in this case, are the
anonymous pirates who put the
film online and enabled millions of Internet users to view
it. Because of widely available
broadband access and a new wave
of streaming sites, it has become
surprisingly easy to watch pirated
video online — a troubling development for entertainment executives and copyright lawyers.
Hollywood may at last be having
its Napster moment — struggling
against the video version of the
digital looting that capsized the
music business. Media companies
say that piracy — some prefer to
call it “digital theft” to emphasize
the criminal nature of the act
— is an increasingly mainstream
pursuit. At the same time, DVD
sales, a huge source of revenue
for film studios, are sagging. In
2008, DVD shipments dropped
to their lowest levels in five years.
Executives worry that the economic downturn will persuade
more users to watch stolen shows
and movies.
“Young people, in particular, conclude that if it’s so easy, it can’t be
wrong,” said Richard Cotton, the
general counsel for NBC Universal.
People have swapped illegal copies of songs, television shows and
movies on the Internet for years.
The slow download process, often
using a peer-to-peer technology
called BitTorrent, required patience and a modicum of sophistication by users. Now, users do
not even have to download. Using
a search engine, anyone can find
free copies of movies, still in
theaters, in a matter of minutes.
Classic TV, like every “Seinfeld”
episode ever produced, is also free
for the streaming. Some of these
digital copies are derived from
bootlegs, while others are replicas
of the advance review videos that
studios send out before a release.
TorrentFreak.com, a Web site
based in Germany that tracks
which shows are most downloaded, estimates that each episode
of “Heroes,” a series on NBC, is
downloaded five million times,
representing a substantial loss for
the network. (On TV, “Heroes”
averages 10 million American
viewers each week).
A wave of streaming sites, which
allow people to start watching
video immediately without transferring a full copy of the movie or
show to their hard drive, are making it easier than ever to watch
free Hollywood content online.
Many of these sites are located
in countries with lackluster piracy
enforcement efforts, like China,
and are hard to monitor, so media
companies do not have a clear
sense of how much content is being stolen.
more popular, SuperNova Tube
has become a repository for copyrighted content. On a recent day,
the new movies “Paul Blart: Mall
Cop” and “Taken” could easily
be found on the site by following links from other sites, called
“link farms,” which guide users
to secret stashes of copyrighted
content spread around the Web.
prevalent. “Streaming has gotten efficient and cheap enough
and it gives users more control
than downloads do. This is where
piracy is headed,” said James L.
McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester
Research. “Consumers are under
the impression that everything
they want to watch should be easily streamable.”
TV episodes and films. The Motion Picture Association of America says that illegal downloads and
streams are now responsible for
about 40 percent of the revenue
the industry loses annually as a
result of piracy.
Some of the first fights over video piracy on the Internet involved
YouTube, the Google-owned Web
site that introduced many people
to streaming. Some legal disputes
between YouTube and copyright
owners remain, most notably a $1
billion lawsuit filed by Viacom,
but the landscape “has improved
markedly,” Mr. Cotton said. YouTube uses filters and digital flags
to weed out illegal content.
But if media companies are winning the battle against illegal video
clips, they are losing the battle
over illicit copies of full-length
Mr. Mir says he did not know
these files were there and that his
company promptly responds to
any request from major rightsThe files are surprisingly easy to
holders. He also says that piracy
find, partly because of efforts by
people like Mohy Mir, the 23-year- is actually his largest problem
old founder of the Toronto based — advertisers flee when they are
alerted to infringing material —
video streaming site SuperNova
and that he is constantly removing
Tube. The site, run by Mr. Mir
files at the request of Hollywood
and one other employee, allows
studios.
anyone to post a video clip of
any length. As the site has grown
His reluctance is seemingly belied
by his site’s name, which is based
on the popular SuperNova BitTorrent hub, and its slogan: “We
Work with uploaders, not against
them.”
The piracy problem, however,
“It is becoming, among some
demographics, a very mainstream
behavior,” said Eric Garland,
the chief executive of BigChampagne.
But many industry experts say the
practice is becoming much more
Photos via Google
does seem to weigh on him. He
removed a copy of the movie
“Twilight” from his site after a
reporter pointed it out to him recently. “I think about getting sued
every day. If that happens it will
definitely take us out of business,”
he said.
Mr. Mir has reason for concern.
In December, the motion picture association sued three Web
sites that it said were facilitating
copyright infringement by identifying and indexing links to pirated
material around the Web.
John Malcolm, the association’s
director of worldwide antipiracy
operations, said that although
the group does not sue individuals for watching pirated videos,
other lawsuits against Web sites
are forthcoming, and he acknowledged that the challenge is stiff.
“There are a lot of very technologically sophisticated people out
there who are very good at this
and very good at hiding,” Mr.
Malcolm said. “We have limited
resources to bring to the fight.”
With so much pirated material
online, Hollywood is turning to
technological solutions. Perhaps
most important, media companies are learning from the music
industry’s mistakes and trying to
avert broader adoption of piracy
techniques. The No. 1 lesson:
provide the video on the platform
that users want it.
Mark Ishikawa, BayTSP’s founder
and chief executive, sees a correlation between the availability of
content through traditional legal
channels and their popularity on
pirate networks.
“When DVD releases are postponed, demand always goes up,
because people don’t have an au-
thorized channel to buy,” he said.
Partly in response to the piracy
problem, a cornucopia of video
Web sites now feature the latest
episodes of virtually every broadcast TV show. Movie studios are
experimenting with video-ondemand releases and other ways
to offer films on demand. Legal
alternatives, the companies hope,
will stifle the stealing. The music
industry, by comparison, waited
years to provide legal options for
online listeners.
“That’s how you start to marginalize piracy — not just by using the
stick, but by using the carrot,” Mr.
Garland said.
“It is
becoming,
among some
demographics,
a very mainstream
behavior”
MEXICOíS
DRUG
WAR
By Alan Taylor
In December of 2006, Mexico’s
new President Felipe Calderón
declared war on the drug cartels,
reversing earlier government
passiveness. Since then, the government has made some gains,
but at a heavy price - gun battles,
assasinations, kidnappings, fights
between rival cartels, and reprisals have resulted in over 9,500
deaths since December 2006 over 5,300 killed last year alone.
President Barack Obama recently announced extra agents were
being deployed to the border
and Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton heads to Mexico today
to pursue a broad diplomatic
agenda - overshadowed now by
spiraling drug violence and fears
of greater cross-border spillover.
Officials on both sides of the
border are committed to stopping
the violence, and stemming the
flow of drugs heading north and
guns and cash heading south.
Photos by REUTER
Shoes used for smuggling marijuana are displayed in the Drug
Museum at the headquarters of the
Mexican Ministry of Defense in
Mexico City March 9, 2009. (REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez)
Texas Armoring Corp. President
and CEO Trent Kimball examines
a bullet proof windshield after it
was shot at their facility in San
Antonio, Thursday, Feb. 26, 2009.
(AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Soldiers patrol near the town of
Miguel Aleman, on Mexico’s
northeastern border with U.S.,
Thursday, March 19, 2009. (AP
Photo/Alexandre Meneghini)
A recently constructed section of the controversial US-Mexico border fence expansion project crosses
previously pristine desert sands at sunrise on March 14, 2009 between Yuma, Arizona and Calexico,
California. (AP Photo/Miguel Tovar)
TOP: A border patrol vehicle drags the sand to make any new
footprints of border crossers more visible along a recently constructed section of the controversial US-Mexico border fence
expansion on previously pristine desert sands on March 14, 2009
between Yuma, Arizona and Calexico, California. (David McNew/Getty Images)
Police officers drive past a burning police vehicle in Zihuatanejo,
Mexico, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009. Earlier, gunmen opened fire and
hurled grenades at the patrol car in the Pacific resort town of Zihuatanejo, killing four officers. (AP Photo/Felipe Salinas)
A federal policeman stands guard during an operation at a nightclub
in downtown Ciudad Juarez March 7, 2009. Across the border from
El Paso, Texas, Ciudad Juarez recently received hundreds of heavily armed federal forces to take over anti-drug efforts from police
tainted by corruption and links to drug traffickers. Picture taken
March 7. (REUTERS/Tomas Bravo)
SPIDERS ATTACK!
Giant robot spiders in Yokohama
by Catherine Jones
Photography by Phlick Ar
A Pair Of Giant Robotic
Spiders Designed And Built
By French Performance Art
Group La Machine Have
Come To Yokohama To
Take Part In The Upcoming
Expo Y150, A 5-Month Festival Commemorating The
150th Anniversary Of The
Opening Of The City’s Port.
Although the Expo Y150 festivities are not scheduled to
officially begin until the end of
April, the enormous steampunk
spiders could be seen prowling
the Yokohama waterfront this
weekend.
On Friday (April 17) night,
one of the 12-meter (40-ft) tall,
37-ton mechanical spiders was
observed in the red brick warehouse area of Yokohama — far
from its natural habitat of Nantes, France.
On Saturday (April 18) evening, one of the mechanical
spiders performed a water dance
at Shinko Pier while the other
looked on from its perch atop
a nearby shipping container.
For the performance, the spider
moved its mechanical legs and
shot steam and water and from
its mouth and rear end, while
suspended over the water from
a large crane. Water cannons,
fog machines, lights and live
atmospheric music added to the
drama.
On Sunday (April 19), both
spiders were scheduled to depart Shinko Pier, take a stroll up
Nihon-Odori street, and head
back to the red brick warehouse
area.
La Machine’s giant spiders will
be on public display at Expo
Y150 from April 28 to September 27.
REAL KAIJU!!*
*Kaiju is a Japanese word that means “strange beast,” but
often translated in English as “monster.”
The most famous kaiju is Godzilla. Other well-known kaiju include Mothra, Anguirus, Rodan, Gamera, and King Ghidorah.