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About 1,300 people from Myanmar flee into Thailand after clashes broke out in a key border town

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About 1,300 people from Myanmar flee into Thailand after clashes broke out in a key border town
News

News

About 1,300 people from Myanmar flee into Thailand after clashes broke out in a key border town

2024-04-20 17:11 Last Updated At:17:40

BANGKOK (AP) — About 1,300 people have fled from eastern Myanmar into Thailand, officials said Saturday, as fresh fighting erupted at a border town that has recently been captured by ethnic guerillas.

Fighters from the Karen ethnic minority last week captured the last of the Myanmar army’s outposts in and around Myawaddy, which is connected to Thailand by two bridges across the Moei River.

The latest clashes were triggered in the morning when the Karen guerillas launched an attack against Myanmar troops who were hiding near the 2nd Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge, a major crossing point for trade with Thailand, said police chief Pittayakorn Phetcharat in Thailand's Mae Sot district. He estimated about 1,300 people fled into Thailand.

Thai officials reported people had started crossing since Friday following clashes in several areas of Myawaddy.

The fall of Myawaddy is a major setback for the military that seized power from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in 2021. Myanmar’s once-mighty armed forces have suffered a series of unprecedented defeats since last October, losing swathes of territory including border posts to both ethnic fighters, who have been fighting for greater autonomy for decades, and pro-democracy guerrilla units that took up arms after the military takeover.

The clashes, involving drone attacks from the Karen forces and airstrikes by the Myanmar military, had subsided by noon Saturday compared to the morning, but Mae Sot police chief Pittayakorn Phetcharat said he could still hear sporadic gunshots. He said Thai authorities would move people fleeing into a safer area.

Footage from the Thai border showed Thai soldiers maintaining guard near the bridge with sounds of explosions and gunshots in the background. People with children waded across the river with their belongings and were received by Thai officials on the river bank. Several are seen taking shelter in buildings along the river bank on the Myanmar side.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin wrote on the social media platform X on Saturday that he was closely monitoring the situation at the border.

“I do not desire to see any such clashes have any impact on the territorial integrity of Thailand and we are ready to protect our borders and the safety of our people. At the same time, we are also ready to provide humanitarian assistance if necessary,” he wrote.

In March, Thailand delivered its first batch of humanitarian assistance to Myanmar for about 20,000 displaced people.

Nikorndej Balangura, a spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told reporters on Friday that Thailand is currently working to expand its aid initiative.

People cross the Moei river as they flee Myawaddy township in Myanmar to Thailand's Mae Sot town in Thailand's Tak province, Saturday, April 20, 2024. About 1,300 people have fled from eastern Myanmar into Thailand, officials said Saturday, as fresh fighting erupted near a border town that has recently been captured by ethnic guerillas. (AP Photo/Warangkana Wanichachewa)

People cross the Moei river as they flee Myawaddy township in Myanmar to Thailand's Mae Sot town in Thailand's Tak province, Saturday, April 20, 2024. About 1,300 people have fled from eastern Myanmar into Thailand, officials said Saturday, as fresh fighting erupted near a border town that has recently been captured by ethnic guerillas. (AP Photo/Warangkana Wanichachewa)

A Thai military armored vehicle takes a position with sounds of explosions and gunshots along the Moei river, under the 2nd Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge in Mae Sot in Thailand's Tak province Saturday, April 20, 2024. About 1,300 people have fled from eastern Myanmar into Thailand, officials said Saturday, as fresh fighting erupted near a border town that has recently been captured by ethnic guerillas. (AP Photo/Warangkana Wanichachewa)

A Thai military armored vehicle takes a position with sounds of explosions and gunshots along the Moei river, under the 2nd Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge in Mae Sot in Thailand's Tak province Saturday, April 20, 2024. About 1,300 people have fled from eastern Myanmar into Thailand, officials said Saturday, as fresh fighting erupted near a border town that has recently been captured by ethnic guerillas. (AP Photo/Warangkana Wanichachewa)

People cross the Moei river as they flee Myawaddy township in Myanmar to Thailand's Mae Sot town in Thailand's Tak province, Saturday, April 20, 2024. More than a thousand people have fled from eastern Myanmar into Thailand on Saturday as fresh fighting erupted near the border of the town that has recently been captured by guerillas from the Karen ethnic minority, officials said.(AP Photo/Warangkana Wanichachewa)

People cross the Moei river as they flee Myawaddy township in Myanmar to Thailand's Mae Sot town in Thailand's Tak province, Saturday, April 20, 2024. More than a thousand people have fled from eastern Myanmar into Thailand on Saturday as fresh fighting erupted near the border of the town that has recently been captured by guerillas from the Karen ethnic minority, officials said.(AP Photo/Warangkana Wanichachewa)

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Palm Dog: Kodi, star of 'Dog on Trial,' is the top dog of Cannes

2024-05-24 23:08 Last Updated At:23:11

CANNES, France (AP) — The verdict is in: The titular “Dog on Trial” was declared this year's Palm Dog winner in Cannes on Friday.

Kodi the griffon mix, who plays Cosmos in the Swiss comedy-drama, narrowly beat Xin, a sighthound who instead wagged away with the Grand Jury Prize for the Chinese drama “Black Dog.”

The Palm Dog awards aren't officially a part of the Cannes Film Festival, but do honor the canines who appear in the festival's films.

In a rare treat perhaps reflecting the growth of the contest's popularity, both dogs were in Cannes to pick up their medals — in this case, dog collars. Both dogs seemed to bask in the limelight. Kodi barked along with the music as “Chihuahua” by DJ BoBo blasted from the speakers and did tricks on two legs. Xin took a more chilled approach, lying down on stage while soaking up the adoration.

Held on a beachfront on Cannes' famed Croisette, the somewhat chaotic awards were well attended by local dogs, their owners and film festival journalists alike. The bar provided rose wine above the table for the human guests and a line of water bowls underneath for the canine attendees.

Historically, many laureates haven't been on hand: Last year's winner, Messi, was awarded in absentia for his role as Snoop in “Anatomy of a Fall.” His Palm Dog collar was instead symbolically wrapped around a border collie named Stan that lacked the thespian's piercing blue eyes.

In 2019, director Quentin Tarantino claimed the collar on behalf of Sayuri, who played Brandy the heroic pit bull in his “Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood.”

The contest was created in 2001. The annual award and its spinoff categories are decided by a jury of reporters.

For Kodi, a nearly 10-year-old rescue, the honor was the cap to his career — and to a whirlwind week that saw him barred from the red carpet for his film's premiere.

In “Dog on Trial,” directed by and starring Laetitia Dosch, Kodi's character is an unruly dog who bites a woman and is put, yes, on trial, with his life at stake. The film is inspired by a true story and explores themes of feminism as well as the status of dogs.

Dosch told The Associated Press after the awards that although quirky and eccentric, the Palm Dog also has a serious point to make.

“It’s talking about animal status and other beautiful parts that now dogs have on films and how scriptwriters, directors are interested in the place of animals in our society,” she said.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese superstar and “Black Dog” actor Eddie Peng showed up to support Xin, not just as her co-star but also as her owner and oracle, giving a speech he joked was from the dog. In the film directed by Hu Guan, Peng plays a man who's ordered to remove stray dogs from his hometown before the Olympic Games. He adopted his canine co-star after bonding with her on set.

“Maybe in the future I don’t need to work anymore,” Peng told The Associated Press earlier, commenting on Xin's newfound popularity. “I’ll just be the agent with my dog.”

Three prizes were also awarded for best “mutt moments.” These went to Chippy from Francis Ford Coppola’s “Megalopolis,” Dave in Andrea Arnold's “Bird” and a surreal hound ensemble in Yorgos Lanthimos' “Kinds of Kindness.”

You may be forgiven for thinking the festival can come to a close with the awarding of the Palm Dog, but there are in fact actual film awards still to come. The Palme d'Or and other top awards will be handed out Saturday.

For more coverage of the 2024 Cannes Film Festival, visit https://apnews.com/hub/cannes-film-festival.

Director Laetitia Dosch and Cosmos pose for portrait photographs for the film 'Dog on Trial' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Saturday, May 18, 2024. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

Director Laetitia Dosch and Cosmos pose for portrait photographs for the film 'Dog on Trial' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Saturday, May 18, 2024. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

Eddie Peng poses with his dog Xin during an interview for the film 'Black Dog' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (Photo by Andreea Alexandru/Invision/AP)

Eddie Peng poses with his dog Xin during an interview for the film 'Black Dog' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (Photo by Andreea Alexandru/Invision/AP)

Kodi, left, who plays Cosmos in the film 'Dog on Trial', wins the palm dog award at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Friday, May 24, 2024. (Photo by Louise Dixon/Invision/AP)

Kodi, left, who plays Cosmos in the film 'Dog on Trial', wins the palm dog award at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Friday, May 24, 2024. (Photo by Louise Dixon/Invision/AP)

Eddie Peng poses with his dog Xin during an interview for the film 'Black Dog' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (Photo by Andreea Alexandru/Invision/AP)

Eddie Peng poses with his dog Xin during an interview for the film 'Black Dog' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (Photo by Andreea Alexandru/Invision/AP)

Director Laetitia Dosch and Cosmos pose for portrait photographs for the film 'Dog on Trial' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Saturday, May 18, 2024. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

Director Laetitia Dosch and Cosmos pose for portrait photographs for the film 'Dog on Trial' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Saturday, May 18, 2024. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

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