Cobra Gold: One of Asia’s largest war drills opens in Thailand

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US Navy paragliders take part in an amphibious landing in Chonburi. (AFP)
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US and Thai Marines gather around amphibious assault vehicles after an amphibious landing in Chonburi. (AFP)
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Thai soldiers take their position in front of an amphibious assault vehicle after landing during the ongoing Cobra Gold US-Thai joint military exercise on Hat Yao beach in Chonburi province. (AP)
Updated 16 February 2019

Cobra Gold: One of Asia’s largest war drills opens in Thailand

  • Cobra Gold is one of the largest military exercises in Asia
  • On Saturday US, Thai and South Korean forces descended on Namsai beach in Chonburi province in a joint drill intended to simulate securing the territory

SATTAHIP, Thailand: With weapons drawn camouflaged troops leapt out of amphibious assault craft while explosions sounded and parachutists glided in from above as the annual Cobra Gold war games took over a placid Thai beach Saturday.
Now in its 38th year, Cobra Gold is one of the largest military exercises in Asia, bringing thousands of forces from the United States, Thailand and other countries together for 11 days of training on Thai shores.
This year’s drill includes some 2,000 US Marines, 1,000 US soldiers and hundreds from the country’s Navy and Air Force.
On Saturday US, Thai and South Korean forces descended on Namsai beach in Chonburi province in a joint drill intended to simulate securing the territory.
Captain Melvin Spiese said the goal was to “bring power from ship to shore” and be ready for “any kind of future crisis we might need to respond to with our Thai counterparts.”
Helicopters buzzed overhead and fighter jets roared across the skies.
Cobra Gold exercises span air, land and sea and feature a jungle survivalist session where participants take turns drinking blood from a severed cobra and snacking on insects and scorpions.
Singapore, Japan, Indonesia and Malaysia also took part in the war games.
A 2014 army coup in Thailand tested ties with Washington and the kingdom tilted towards China with high-profile arms buys.
But US military sales continued and the two countries have upped their engagement under US President Donald Trump, who has stepped back on human rights issues and invited junta chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha to the White House.
Prayut, who led the 2014 coup, is standing for prime minister in elections set for March 24.


Malaysian ex-PM Najib’s 1MDB-related third corruption trial opens

Updated 21 min 33 sec ago

Malaysian ex-PM Najib’s 1MDB-related third corruption trial opens

  • Najib Razak is being jointly tried with 1MDB ex-CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Former Malaysian leader Najib Razak’s third corruption trial has started, with prosecutors saying Najib tampered with a government audit on the 1MDB state investment fund in a bid to avoid civil and criminal proceedings.
Najib faces multiple corruption charges linked to the massive looting of the 1MDB fund, that contributed to his shocking election defeat last year.
Prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram said Monday his team will show how Najib had abused his power to order the removal of material information from the auditor-general’s report on 1MDB in 2016 to cover up the truth.
Najib is being jointly tried with 1MDB ex-CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy, who is accused of abetting him. Monday’s trial opened just days after another court ordered Najib to enter his defense in his first corruption case.