Biden says he’s the most qualified person to be president

Joe Biden says the US can’t have four more years of Trump. (AP Photo)
Updated 04 December 2018
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Biden says he’s the most qualified person to be president

  • Democrat considering a 2020 challenge to President Donald Trump
  • Former VP says it’s time for US citizens to remember who they are, shake off political malaise

MISSOULA, Montana: Former Vice President Joe Biden says he believes that he is the most qualified person in the country to be president.
The 76-year-old Democrat made his comments Monday to an audience at the University of Montana in Missoula, as he considers a 2020 challenge to President Donald Trump.
Biden says nobody should run for president unless they believe they are qualified. He says he’ll decide within two months.
Biden says the US can’t have four more years of Trump, whom he calls “a guy who can’t tell the truth.”
He says it’s time for US citizens to remember who they are, shake off political malaise and “choose truth over lies, science over fiction.”

Biden is touring the nation to promote his memoir. He appears in Dallas on Tuesday.


Thai police order for intel on Muslim students sparks outrage

Updated 42 min 14 sec ago

Thai police order for intel on Muslim students sparks outrage

  • Rights groups have long accused the state of heavy-handed sweeps of the Malay-Muslim population
  • Muslims make up Thailand’s second largest religious group, with the majority residing in its three southernmost states

BANGKOK: A Thai Muslim student group Wednesday called for police to drop an order requesting universities to provide “intelligence” on Muslim students and their activities in the Buddhist-majority state.
Muslims make up Thailand’s second largest religious group, with the majority residing in its three southernmost states, which since 2004 have been in the grip of a conflict between Malay-Muslim separatist rebels and Thai authorities.
Rights groups have long accused the state of heavy-handed sweeps of the majority Malay-Muslim population in that region — which is under martial law.
Last week the Special Branch Bureau issued a nationwide order to universities to provide “intelligence” on Muslim students and their activities in school, police spokesman Krissana Pattanacharoen told AFP Tuesday, citing “security” concerns.
The news sparked immediate outrage from the community, and the Muslim Students Federation of Thailand on Wednesday called for parliament to “cancel” the request.
The Special Branch’s order “is also a form of discrimination that breaches the constitution,” president Ashraf Awae said, speaking outside parliament.
Such “groundless accusations... could create divisions among the Muslim students and others in the university and society,” he said.
He added the federation had already heard of police requesting information on Muslim student groups from at least three major universities.
Junta chief-turned-prime minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha on Tuesday defended the Special Branch, and denied creating a “database” would be a violation of people’s rights.
“We can’t arrest anyone if they don’t do anything wrong,” he told reporters.
Prayut’s backing shows an “alarming trend of growing Islamophobia in Thailand,” said Human Rights Watch’s Sunai Phasuk.
“This is state-sanctioned discrimination,” he told AFP, adding that the Thai constitution explicitly prohibits discrimination toward different religions and ethnic groups.
“It could feed into radicalization of Muslims in the deep south and worsen the conflict,” Sunai said.
The ex-general had masterminded a coup in 2014, leading a five-year junta regime before elections in March formally installed him as a civilian premier thanks to a new constitution tilted to the military.
Under Prayut’s tenure as junta head, police had rounded up at least 50 Thai Muslims, mostly university students, in a dragnet operation in October 2016 that authorities justified was necessary to stop a suspected car bomb plot.