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A Thai princess has been banned from standing in elections next month three days after she announced her candidacy.

Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi has been disqualified from standing for the Thai Raksa Chart party in the 24 March ballot by the country’s election commission.

The sister of King Maha Vajiralongkorn shocked Thailand on Friday when she announced she would be a candidate.

The 67-year-old princess, the eldest child of Thailand’s beloved late king Bhumibol Adulyadej, has starred in several soap operas and films.

She would have become the first member of the Thai royal family, which has always kept itself above politics, to enter the fray.

The royal will run as a candidate for the Thai Raksa Chart party
The royal was hoping to run as a candidate for the populist Thai Raksa Chart party

But her hopes were quickly dashed by her brother, King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who declared later that day that her candidacy was “inappropriate” and unconstitutional.

The word of the monarch carries much weight in Thailand, where the royal family is revered as semi-divine, and it was no surprise that election officials chose to endorse his view.

The Thai Raksa Chart party, which she was planning to run for, is loyal to ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, whose allies have won every national election since 2001.

The princess will go up against Prayuth Chan-ocha, the leader of Thailand's military junta
Prayuth Chan-ocha is the leader of Thailand’s military junta

The populist party is attempting to defeat Prayuth Chan-ocha, leader of Thailand’s military junta, in the polls.

By nominating Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi, it was hoping to tap into the pro-royal sentiment of the people.

Whilst its plan has been foiled, it may still benefit, according to Anusorn Unno, dean of the faculty of sociology and anthropology at Thammasat University.

Princess Ubolratana is the elder sister of King Maha Vajiralongkorn
King Maha Vajiralongkorn called her candidacy ‘inappropriate’

“For Thai Raksa Chart supporters, this has created more sympathy to the party … These would see the party as a victim in this situation,” he said.

But he warned that Thaksin’s opponents are also likely to be motivated by what they will see as an attempt to manipulate the monarchy.

It will be the first election since a pro-royalist military coup in 2014 overthrew the remnants of a government that had been led by Thaksin’s sister Yingluck.

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Sudan revolution: Deaths are ‘worthwhile sacrifice’ | World News



As Sudanese soldiers fire live rounds at unarmed protesters, a young man stands his ground, then moves forward, berating the soldiers for firing at civilians, telling them they should be ashamed.

Moments later, he lies dying on the ground, shot three times. The picture of Abdulazim Abubakr went viral in Sudan.

A university graduate and just 25 years old, he embodied the spirit of the youth-led revolution currently under way in Sudan. He, like many others, died standing up to the tyrannical government of Omar al Bashir.

The dictator has gone, but the revolution isn’t done.

Abdulazim Abubakr was shot three times
Abdulazim Abubakr was shot three times

Abdulazim lived in a mud-bricked series of rooms on a dusty street in the city of Omdurman, across the River Nile from Khartoum, with his brother and sister and their parents.

The revolution, now famous around the world, started in places such as this at the end of last year.

Small, scattered uprisings eventually morphed into an enormous street protest at the heart of the government’s power base in the capital.

A mural of Abdulazim is painted on a wall outside the family home. Next to it a quote, his last post on social media: “We are tired my friend, but nobody can afford to lay down during battle.”

We drove out to meet the family. They have never spoken about his death until now.

Originally from Darfur, the family moved to Khartoum for the children’s education and for work. The education, they got. Work and money however was much harder to find.

Siblings Omar (left) and Fatma Abubakr (right) are hoping Sudan will become &#39;good again&#39;
Siblings Omar (left) and Fatma Abubakr (right) are hoping Sudan will become ‘good again’

This family, like so many in the country, are dreadfully poor. The revolutionary movement here was born in poverty. In many ways it is why it happened.

Abdulazim’s brother, Omar, 28, and his cousin, Mustafa, 34, ushered us through a gate and past a series of rooms to another small room with just two beds inside, where we were introduced to his sister Fatma, a 21-year-old university student.

They have many photos and a video of their brother’s dying moments. A video they have never seen to the end.

I asked Fatma what it was like when she first realised that her brother had been shot. She knew he was on the street, but they only found out what had happened as his body was brought home.

“It was a huge shock, I’ve never experienced anything like this,” she told me through tears. “I felt completely alone because all my family is here and suddenly my brother dies and they bring him to me. It was a terrible feeling, heartbreaking.”

The mural of Abdulazim painted on a wall outside the family home
The mural of Abdulazim painted on a wall outside the family home

I asked her what she would say to him now, after all the advances that have been made by the revolution in recent days.

“I would say ‘God bless your soul, and I am very proud to be your sister’. As my father would say, he made us proud in life and in death. I miss him dearly.”

Many of the people we have spoken to at the main protest site in Khartoum, who have lost loved ones to soldiers’ bullets or through torture, are demanding retribution. Here they call it “blood for blood”.

I asked Omar if he agreed with that and wanted the same.

“Sudan deserves much more than this,” he replied. “It wasn’t only Abdulazim, there are thousands of Abdulazims. They all died so that Sudan can be liberated and become good again.

“Everyone would want to avenge their brother’s death, we want retribution, but we also want a better Sudan.”

The family spoke of the shock after learning of Abdulazim Abubakr&#39;s death
The family spoke of their shock after learning of Abdulazim Abubakr’s death

All of the family’s youngest members took to the streets in protest, but they never told each other until this interview.

Incredibly, they all kept it a secret from each other, apart from Abdulazim, who posted pictures and video on social media.

In a moment of hilarity, Omar told his sister off.

“If I had known what she was doing, I would never have let her out,” he said laughing.

Mustafa Ohzeddin said it was &#39;necessary for people to sacrifice everything&#39;
Mustafa Ohzeddin said it was ‘necessary for people to sacrifice everything’

The point is that in this revolution, young men and women have played an equal part. They have torn up the old rules.

While they remain heartbroken, none of them regret what happened to Abdulazim.

“We wish those who died were here with us to witness the changes that are happening,” cousin Mustafa said. “But it is God’s will that they are not here. What happened in Sudan was worth the sacrifice of lives – our homeland is precious and we love Sudan. It was necessary for people to sacrifice everything.”

The revolution is not yet won, but these men and women, like millions of others believe it is near. It is within the grasp of those who lived.

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Anger over Notre-Dame donations as yellow vest protests turn violent | World News



At least 126 people have been arrested in Paris on the 23rd week of the yellow vest protests as violence erupted on the city’s streets.

Flares were thrown and dozens of motorbikes and cars were set on fire as riot police fired tear gas at protesters around Place de la Republique on Saturday.

In a tweet, the Paris police department warned protesters to disassociate themselves from “violent groups” near the square.

“Let law enforcement and emergency services intervene,” it said.

Police tried to disperse the protesters with tear gas
Police tried to disperse the protesters with tear gas

Similar demonstrations were planned across the country on Saturday.

While early protests back in November focused on fuel tax hikes, the movement soon developed into a wider cause against social inequality and the leadership of French President Emmanuel Macron.

Participation has somewhat dwindled since the first weekend of protesting, which saw almost 290,000 people donning the high-visibility vests now associated with the movement, but the weekly demonstrators still attract numbers in the thousands.

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Paris police say 126 arrests have been made amid the protests on Saturday
At least 126 arrests were made amid the protests on Saturday

Demonstrators were further incensed this week when some of the country’s wealthiest prioritised huge sums of cash to the restoration of fire-ravaged Notre-Dame Cathedral, but were apparently less willing to donate such sums to the poor.

Almost £1bn has been raised since the destructive blaze ripped through the Parisian landmark.

A spokesperson for the yellow vest movement, Ingrid Levavasseur, expressed her frustration at the “astronomical sums” donated by the world’s elite.

In a post on Facebook, she wrote: “In five months, you can tell there is a complete gap. I can tell you that we didn’t get what we asked for.”

Ms Levavasseur has since suggested that for every euro donated to the Notre-Dame, twice as much should be given to France’s poorest.

Protesters threw flares in response to tear gas in Paris
Protesters threw flares and paving stones at police

Placards carried during Saturday’s protest also highlighted the movements’ dismay at the direction in which donations have been sent.

One such sign read: “Victor Hugo thanks all the generous donors for the Notre-Dame, and proposes that you do the same for Les Miserables.”

It made reference to the French writer’s two classic novels, Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.

Protesters are frustrated over the lack of response to their demands, while huge donations were sent to Notre Dame
Protesters are frustrated over the lack of response to their demands, while huge donations were sent to Notre-Dame

Mr Macron has also been accused by some protesters of using the blaze as a tool to bolster his political image.

He was originally scheduled to address the yellow vests’ demands in a speech on Monday, but postponed it in order to direct focus toward response to the fire.

The president’s speech is expected to be rescheduled for next week.

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