Global Newsstand: Thailand should not impede those who are seeking asylum, and more

A roundup of global commentary for the Jan. 21, 2019 weekly magazine.

Thai Immigration Bureau via AP
Saudi woman Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun walks by Thai immigration police officers at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok on Jan. 7, 2019.

The Nation / Bangkok, Thailand

Thailand should not impede those who are seeking asylum

“The fate of a Saudi woman on her way to Australia, where she has a visa and seeks to obtain asylum, teetered in the balance in Bangkok [on Jan. 7]...,” states an editorial. “Amid Thailand’s apparent willingness to deport [Rahaf al-Qunun] back to Saudi Arabia, rights lawyers representing her failed to get a Bangkok court to accept an injunction against her repatriation, which could have spelled her doom. Then came an abrupt about-face as the head of Immigration announced that, contrary to his earlier remarks, she would not be deported.... It will indeed be encouraging if the Thai government takes a firm stand in the matter.... We owe the Saudis nothing. If there is even the slightest possibility that this woman’s life is in danger, Thailand must oppose her repatriation.”

The Moscow Times / Moscow

Arrest of Paul Whelan signals danger for all private citizens

“It is still unclear whether U.S. citizen Paul Whelan was indeed, as the Russian authorities allege, a spy, or whether he is the victim of mistaken identity...,” writes Mark Galeotti. “Nonetheless, the danger is that we are sliding into an era when civilians become pawns in the game of modern statecraft.... Of course, it is hard not to presume that there is a connection with Maria Butina’s case. She was charged neither with outright espionage nor simple unauthorized lobbying but under ‘espionage lite,’ Section 951.... A swap for Butina would seem to be a good deal to both: a quick resolution so that the story is swept off the news cycle for the former, proof that a tough line brings results for the latter. But assuming that Whelan is innocent, it would further consolidate a worrying trend, making civilians fair game.”

Korea Joongang Daily / Seoul, South Korea

Korea needs fewer regulations to catch up to Chinese technology

“China has landed on the far side of [the] moon, putting itself on par with or possibly above the United States in space exploration...,” states an editorial. “Americans and Soviets have never ventured so far.... The [Chang’e-4] achievement is as big as the launch of Sputnik, when the Soviets beat the Americans in putting the first satellite in orbit around the Earth in 1957.... The shock could be equally heavy to Korea, which already is being closely chased by China in key industries.... At this rate, Korea’s future is gloomy. The solution has been obvious for a long time. Korea must lift regulations that block new industries.... Action must take place immediately.”

The Irish Times / Dublin, Ireland

Catholic Church in Ireland has a chance to remake itself in leadership turnover

“Major change at Catholic Church leadership level in Ireland is imminent as almost a third of the 26 dioceses on the island are scheduled to have new bishops appointed over the next year or two...,” states an editorial. “It is an opportunity for the church in Ireland to lay new foundations and rebuild following the catastrophic consequences of its handling of the clerical child sex abuse crisis. It is also a chance for it to look to a future post that crisis, and to put in place a leadership team less hampered by the sins of the past – one that retains an essential humility while offering a vision for the future.”

The Guardian Nigeria / Lagos, Nigeria

One Nigerian word sums up today’s global politics

“It was this ‘Brexit or no Brexit’ matter that made me start thinking about yeye politics and yeye politicians...,” writes Hope Eghagha. “Yeye politics is used to describe politics which is not designed for the common good. It is often sectional, selfish, and self-serving.... Of late ‘yeye politics’ has become global; it has become institutionalized.... Yeye politics is highly destructive. It deprives the people of development. It denies the people the basic things of life.... [A]s we enter 2019 ... let us not play yeye politics with yeye politicians. Both the governors and the governed should say good bye to yeye politics and yeye politicians.”

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