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Liam Cochrane

Bangkok, Thailand
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About Liam
Liam Cochrane is the ABC's Southeast Asia correspondent, covering Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam and Laos. Previously, the ABC's Papua New Guinea correspondent. Liam started journalism in Cambodia, as a reporter and later Managing Editor of the Phnom Penh Post. He has hosted Radio Australia's Connect Asia, and reported for radio and television across Asia and the Pacific. You can follow him on Twitter @Liam_Cochrane
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English
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Live Reporting Fact Checking
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We need sons who aren't afraid of their emotions

06 Mar 2021  |  thenewdaily.com.au
The article discusses the importance of teaching boys about consent, sexual harassment, and assault, emphasizing the role of parents alongside schools. The author, a mother of three teenage sons, shares her experiences and the value of allowing boys to express their emotions. The article highlights the societal pressures on teenage boys, especially regarding sex and consent, and suggests that parents have a significant impact on their sons' behavior. Dr. Michael Salter, Associate Professor of Criminology at UNSW, contributes insights on the challenges faced by boys with different levels of support at home and the role of school culture in teaching consent. The piece advocates for open communication between parents and sons and a 'flexible masculinity' that allows boys to be emotionally honest.

Fears Australian contractors could be stopping seasonal workers from returning to their home countries

24 Mar 2020  |  www.abc.net.au
Concerns have arisen that Australian contractors may be preventing seasonal workers from Vanuatu from returning home during the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the Australian government's stance that workers should be allowed to return, reports indicate that misinformation and threats of being stranded without support are being used to dissuade them. The Vanuatu government has suspended new participation in the seasonal worker scheme, while Australia considers extending visas for current workers to support its agriculture industry.

Born with a mission to demolish Communism: Chinese

01 Oct 2019  |  www.abc.net.au
Marking 70 years since the founding of the People's Republic of China, the article explores diverse perspectives of Chinese-Australians on China's political and social evolution. Interviewees express a range of views, from admiration for China's economic progress to criticism of its lack of democracy and human rights issues. The article highlights personal stories and opinions, reflecting on the impact of Chinese governance on individuals' lives and aspirations for greater openness and democracy.

Australians reflect on the 70th anniversary the People’s Republic of China

27 Sep 2019  |  abc.net.au
China is preparing for the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic with a large military parade at Tiananmen Square, reminiscent of the one held seven decades ago. In light of this event, PM has gathered the perspectives of seven Australians with Chinese heritage.

Australia urged to fund more mental health programs for children in war zones

11 Sep 2019  |  www.abc.net.au
Save The Children's report 'Road to Recovery' calls for increased international aid funding for mental health programs for children in high-intensity conflict zones, citing the 7 million children at risk of severe mental health issues. The organization urges developed nations like Australia to contribute to the $2.6 billion 'Education Can't Wait' fund and to implement psychological support in conflict areas. Personal stories from individuals like Vashini Jayakumar, who found mental health support in Australia after fleeing Sri Lanka, and children in Yemen and Bangladesh, illustrate the urgent need for such programs.

Hong Kong democracy protester 'detained' briefly by Border Force as artists counter Beijing

05 Sep 2019  |  abc.net.au
Hong Kong student activist Zoey Leung was briefly detained by Australian Border Force upon arrival in Melbourne, raising concerns of political targeting. Clive Hamilton expressed shame over the incident. The event featuring Badiucao and Denise Ho faced venue rejections, with accusations of self-censorship against the National Gallery of Victoria. Hong Kong's extradition bill was withdrawn, but protesters demand further actions. Badiucao emphasized the importance of satire in activism, while Hamilton compared the situation to historical tyranny. Attendees expressed fears of retribution and a desire for democracy in Hong Kong.

Archaeologists discover more giant stone jars used to dispose of the dead in Laos

21 Jun 2019  |  www.abc.net.au
Australian-led research has uncovered several previously undiscovered giant stone jars in Laos, believed to be related to ancient burial practices. The jars, scattered across Laos's north-east, have perplexed scientists for decades. The research, involving geospatial mapping and soil sampling, aims to uncover the origins and purposes of these jars. Despite challenges like unexploded bombs from the Vietnam War, the team has made significant progress, including finding potential habitation sites and using advanced techniques to date the jars. The project is a collaboration between Australian universities and the Laos Government, with plans for further exploration.

Australia abandoned his family in Cambodia, says Syrian refugee

01 May 2019  |  abc.net.au
The Australian Government is facing accusations of failing to fulfill promises to a Syrian refugee, Abdullah Zalghani, who resettled in Cambodia. Zalghani claims that the lack of private school education and health insurance for his four children, which were part of the reasons he agreed to leave Nauru, constitutes abandonment by the government.

Survivors of Laos dam collapse question where aid dollars went

12 Apr 2019  |  abc.net.au
Survivors of the dam collapse in Laos are questioning the allocation of aid funds provided by countries including Australia, as nearly 4,000 people remain in camps nine months after the disaster. The situation highlights issues within the communist state of Laos, which is criticized for focusing on foreign-funded mega-projects rather than addressing the extreme poverty of its citizens. Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, has recently visited the country.

Hakeem AlAraibi's wife asks Thailand's Prime Minister to 'please help my husband come home'

30 Jan 2019  |  www.abc.net.au
Hakeem AlAraibi's wife has appealed to Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-Cha for assistance in securing her husband's release from detention. AlAraibi, who has refugee status in Australia, was detained in Bangkok during his honeymoon due to an Interpol notice from Bahrain, where he faces charges he denies. The Thai government is being pressured to negotiate a solution, especially after the recent case of Rahaf Mohammed, a Saudi teenager granted asylum in Canada. Thailand's Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai has called for dialogue between Australia and Bahrain to resolve the situation.

Bahrain files extradition request for Melbourne

29 Jan 2019  |  www.abc.net.au
Bahrain has officially requested the extradition of Hakeem AlAraibi, a Melbourne-based refugee detained in Bangkok, for vandalism charges he claims are politically motivated. AlAraibi, who was detained in Thailand during his honeymoon, faces a lengthy legal process. Bahrain's Interior Minister criticized external calls for his release, while AlAraibi's supporters argue he is being targeted for criticizing a Bahraini royal. The international sports community is rallying in support of AlAraibi, who has been granted refugee status in Australia.

Former Socceroos captain Craig Foster says refugee Hakeem AlAraibi is 'losing hope' in Bangkok prison

22 Jan 2019  |  www.abc.net.au
Craig Foster, former Socceroos captain, visited refugee Hakeem AlAraibi in a Bangkok prison, expressing deep concern for his well-being and urging the Australian Government and FIFA to intervene. AlAraibi, detained in Thailand due to an Interpol Red Notice from Bahrain, fears returning to Bahrain where he believes he will face persecution. Foster criticized FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation for their inaction, highlighting the case as a critical test of FIFA's human rights policy. Thailand has given Bahrain a deadline to lodge a formal extradition request, while Foster continues to advocate for AlAraibi's release.

The 12 schoolboys trapped in a Thai cave were found after 10 days

14 Jan 2019  |  Mail Online
In June, 12 boys from the Wild Boars soccer team and their coach were trapped in the Tham Luang cave in Thailand. After ten days of intense international rescue efforts, they were found alive by British divers John Volanthen and Rick Stanton. The rescue operation faced numerous challenges, including strong currents, poor visibility, and the boys' deteriorating physical condition. Despite the odds, the boys survived by rationing water and maintaining hope. The Thai Navy's Special Forces, along with international volunteers, played a crucial role in the rescue, supported by the King of Thailand. The discovery of the boys alive brought global relief and joy, but the challenge of safely extracting them from the cave remained daunting.

World was told 12 Thai cave boys would swim to freedom... but that was a lie to soothe their parents

13 Jan 2019  |  Mail Online
The article recounts the dramatic rescue of 12 boys and their coach from the Wild Boars football team, who were trapped in a Thai cave. Initially, the world was told the boys would swim to freedom, but the real plan involved sedating them and having expert divers carry them out. The rescue operation, which involved international collaboration and innovative techniques, faced numerous challenges, including the tragic death of a former Thai SEAL. Despite the immense risks, all 13 were successfully rescued, providing a rare moment of global unity and hope.

Saudi teen Rahaf Alqunun reacts to Australian resettlement option with smile, dancing emojis

10 Jan 2019  |  www.abc.net.au
Saudi teenager Rahaf Alqunun expressed joy upon learning that Australia might resettle her, following her plea for asylum due to fears of family retribution for renouncing Islam. The UN refugee agency referred her case to Australia, which is considering it. Alqunun's asylum application was expedited due to security concerns after her father and brother arrived in Bangkok. She remains under Thai police protection. Activists are urging the Australian Government to support her asylum bid. The case has drawn international attention, highlighting Saudi Arabia's repressive guardianship system for women.

Thai officials promise not to deport Saudi woman seeking asylum in Australia

07 Jan 2019  |  www.abc.net.au
Thai authorities have assured that Rahaf Alqunun, an 18-year-old Saudi woman seeking asylum in Australia, will not be deported back to Saudi Arabia. Alqunun, fearing for her life after renouncing Islam, barricaded herself in a Bangkok airport hotel room and requested UNHCR intervention. Despite initial resistance, UNHCR representatives interviewed her, and she is now in Thai immigration custody. The Thai Government has given mixed signals, with some officials indicating coordination with Australia and others suggesting bilateral discussions with Saudi Arabia. Activists and experts urge Australia to support her asylum bid, though legal obligations are unclear. The case draws parallels to a similar incident involving another Saudi woman, Dina Ali Lasloom, who was forcibly returned to Saudi Arabia in 2017.

Inside the Thai cave rescue that nearly didn't happen

02 Dec 2018  |  www.abc.net.au
British divers Rick Stanton, John Volanthen, and caver Rob Harper arrived in Thailand to assist in the rescue of a soccer team trapped in Tham Luang cave, facing initial reluctance from the Thai military. Tensions arose due to communication barriers and the military's control over the operation. Despite challenges, including rising water levels and logistical issues, the British divers played a crucial role in laying guide lines and rescuing four Thai pump workers. The US Indo-Pacific Command also participated, with personnel from the Special Tactics Squadron aiding the mission. The rescue operation was fraught with difficulties but ultimately successful, with the divers' expertise proving essential.

Cambodia election: Australia rules out sending diplomats to monitor 'sham' poll

28 Jul 2018  |  www.abc.net.au
Australia has decided not to send diplomats to monitor the Cambodian election, joining the United States in avoiding legitimization of what is seen as a 'sham' poll. The Cambodian People's Party, led by Prime Minister Hun Sen, faces no significant challenge after the main opposition was outlawed. The lead-up to the election has been tainted by threats, intimidation, and media shutdowns. Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has voiced concerns, while the defunct opposition has praised Australia's stance. The ruling party has dismissed foreign assessments, and despite calls for a boycott, the effectiveness remains uncertain amid reports of voter intimidation and internet censorship.

Thai cave rescue: Out of the cave but no place to call home for three of the rescued boys

16 Jul 2018  |  abc.net.au
Following the Thai cave rescue, attention has turned to the stateless status of three boys and their assistant coach, highlighting the broader issue of statelessness in Thailand. Adul Sam-on, one of the stateless boys, is recognized for his English communication with the British divers and his academic achievements despite his lack of citizenship. The Wild Boars football team, coached by Nopparat Kanthawong, is known for its open door policy and focus on keeping kids off the streets. Assistant coach Ekkapol Chantawong, also stateless, taught the boys to meditate, drawing on his experience as a Buddhist monk. The rescue mission brought a moment of unity to Thailand, transcending political divisions, but the future of this sentiment remains uncertain.

Thai cave rescue: 'Tham Luang' a magnet for teen adventurers, local man says

06 Jul 2018  |  www.abc.net.au
Intu Incharoen, who had a similar experience getting lost in the Tham Luang cave complex 16 years ago, recounts his adventure as a teenager. He and his friends, including a 12-year-old, thought they encountered a ghost when they heard a girl's voice in the darkness. They had entered the cave during monsoon season against warnings and became lost, eventually finding their way out after nine hours. The cave, near the border town of Mae Sai in Chiang Mai province, is now the site where the Wild Boars soccer team is stranded, but it has long been a popular spot for local teens seeking adventure.

Vietnamese hackers trigger software trap after Australian sale of newspaper in Cambodia

15 May 2018  |  abc.net.au
A Vietnamese state-linked hacking group targeted Cambodian human rights organization Licadho using a malware attack through the Phnom Penh Post website, shortly after its sale by Australian Bill Clough to Malaysian Sivakumar Ganapathy. Cybersecurity firm FireEye identified the group as APT32, known for acting in Vietnam's political interests. The attack, which began around May 8, involved redirecting Licadho staff to a fake Google privacy page and a phishing site called GTransfer. FireEye had detected the Post's website compromise in November 2017. The attack comes ahead of Cambodia's national election on July 29, amidst increasing authoritarian actions by Prime Minister Hun Sen, including media attacks and suppression of opposition.

Fighting escalates in Myanmar's Kachin State, trapping civilians in conflict zones

07 May 2018  |  www.abc.net.au
Intense fighting in Myanmar's Kachin State has trapped thousands of civilians without supplies, with aid workers expressing deep concern. The conflict, rooted in historical ethnic tensions, has seen recent escalations, displacing many and trapping others in conflict zones. Despite peace being a stated priority for Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi, significant progress in peace talks remains elusive.

Email suggests 'major backer' promised to help win $344,000 case against Cambodian newspaper

02 May 2018  |  www.abc.net.au
An Australian, Chris Dawe, who won a $344,000 wrongful dismissal case against the Phnom Penh Post, allegedly had a 'major backer' aiding his legal battle, according to an email obtained by ABC. The case has raised concerns about judicial integrity, with Dawe denying the authenticity of the email. The Phnom Penh Post, facing significant financial and legal pressures, is emblematic of broader attacks on media freedom in Cambodia, driven by Prime Minister Hun Sen's government. The Khmer Times, a pro-government newspaper, is linked to controversial figures and funding sources. The Cambodian media landscape is under severe strain, with independent outlets being shut down or heavily taxed.

Rohingya Muslims should not be repatriated to Myanmar until credible investigation, Julie Bishop says

30 Apr 2018  |  www.abc.net.au
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop stated that Myanmar should permit an independent investigation into human rights abuses against Rohingya Muslims before repatriating refugees from Bangladesh. Nearly 700,000 Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh due to a violent campaign by Myanmar's security forces, described by the UN as 'textbook ethnic cleansing.' The Myanmar Government views the violence as a response to Rohingya militant attacks. The UN Security Council is visiting refugee camps in Bangladesh and will meet with Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Australia has pledged an additional $15 million in aid for the Rohingya crisis, bringing its total contribution to $46.5 million, but has not suspended military cooperation with Myanmar, unlike the UK.

Australian killed at Cambodian gun range was tourist, not military as local 'cover

16 Mar 2018  |  www.abc.net.au
Two Australians involved in a deadly explosion at a Cambodian shooting range were tourists, not military trainers as initially claimed by Cambodian authorities. The blast killed an Australian man and a Cambodian, and injured another Australian and two Cambodians. The Australian Defence Department confirmed no military personnel were involved. The range, run by the Cambodian military, is popular among tourists for firing heavy weapons. Cambodian authorities initially misreported the Australians' roles, leading to confusion.

Australian killed at Cambodian gun range was tourist, not army

16 Mar 2018  |  thenewdaily.com.au
Two Australian tourists were involved in a fatal explosion at a Cambodian military-run shooting range, contradicting initial claims by Cambodian authorities that they were military trainers. The incident occurred in Kampong Speu, killing an Australian man and a Cambodian, with three others injured. The Australian Defence Department confirmed no Australian Defence Force personnel were involved, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is assisting the victims' families. Cambodian military personnel have been instructed not to speak to media, and the police investigation is hindered by lack of military cooperation.

Cambodian director of Sofitel hotel linked to business which saw shooting of farmers

16 Mar 2018  |  abc.net.au
Sofitel hotel chain is silent on its Cambodian director Kim Sokleap's business ties to the shooting of protesters at a Memot Rubber Plantation. Kim Sokleap, related to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, is also a director of the plantation where security forces recently attacked farmers, burning homes and firing shots. Global Witness highlights the Hun family's control over foreign capital in Cambodia and the risks to companies. The Cambodian government's crackdown on dissent is intensifying ahead of the July election, with the main opposition party dissolved and its leader imprisoned.

Cambodian court on a 'fishing expedition' through emails, James Ricketson says

20 Feb 2018  |  www.abc.net.au
Emails sent by Australian filmmaker James Ricketson to Cambodia's political opposition and media are under investigation for espionage, which he claims is a baseless 'fishing expedition.' Ricketson, facing a potential 10-year sentence, maintains his innocence, asserting no evidence of espionage exists in his emails. The Cambodian National Rescue Party, now illegal, faces severe government crackdowns, with its leaders in exile or jailed. Ricketson's son, Jesse, supports his father's claims of innocence, highlighting the lack of evidence and the harsh conditions of his detention.

Black leopard soup brings trouble for Thai construction mogul

16 Feb 2018  |  www.abc.net.au
Thai businessman Premchai Karnasuta, owner of Italian-Thai Development, has been ordered to appear in court for poaching a rare black leopard in the Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary. Found with rifles and carcasses, he faces multiple charges and could be sentenced to 28 years in prison. The incident has sparked public outrage and comparisons to past poaching scandals with political consequences. Ranger Wichien Chinnawong, who arrested Premchai, has been hailed as a hero, receiving support from Princess Ubolratana. The case raises questions about the influence of the government-business-royal elite in Thailand and the potential for justice to be served.

US imposes sanctions on Australian man working for 'Sin City' casino in Laos

02 Feb 2018  |  abc.net.au
The United States has sanctioned Australian Abbas Eberahim for his involvement with Kings Romans Casino in Laos, which is accused of facilitating illegal activities such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, and wildlife trade. The casino, effectively operating as Chinese territory, is at the heart of the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone and caters predominantly to the Chinese market. Despite the sanctions, the casino continues to operate, with allegations of it being used to launder drug money.

Rohingya repatriation delayed by Bangladeshi officials just hours before it was due to begin

23 Jan 2018  |  abc.net.au
The repatriation of 680,000 Rohingya Muslims from Bangladesh to Myanmar has been delayed due to logistical issues, according to Bangladesh's refugee relief and rehabilitation commissioner Abul Kalam. The process was set to begin today but has been postponed as preparations such as the list of people, their verification, and transit camps are incomplete. Fortify Rights, an investigation and advocacy group, believes the delay is for the wrong reasons, pointing out ongoing insecurity and human rights violations in Rakhine State. Many Rohingya villages have been destroyed, and the apartheid system they fled remains. The United Nations refugee agency insists on voluntary return only if rights and safety are assured, while a survey indicates 89 percent of Rohingyas are unwilling to return, with one woman expressing a preference for being thrown into the sea over repatriation.

Thai military launches 'Little Sister Pinky Promise' mascot to promote reconciliation

30 Nov 2017  |  abc.net.au
Thailand's Ministry of Defence introduced a mascot named Little Sister Pinky Promise as a symbol of national reconciliation. The character, revealed by soldiers, is a cartoon girl designed to represent non-violence, purity, and unity. Despite the mascot being part of a 10-point reconciliation plan by the military junta, social media reactions were largely critical. The Thai army continues to combat separatists in the south and maintain control following the 2014 coup, with elections scheduled for November 2018 and the military securing oversight of future governments for 20 years.

Mother Mushroom: Daughter of jailed Vietnamese blogger appeals to Melania Trump for help during APEC visit

10 Nov 2017  |  www.abc.net.au
The 11-year-old daughter of Vietnamese activist Nguyen Ngọc Nhu Quynh, known as Mother Mushroom, has appealed to Melania Trump to help free her mother, who is serving a 10-year prison sentence for her activism. Mother Mushroom, a prominent critic of the Vietnamese government, was unable to accept an award from the US State Department due to her detention. Human Rights Watch has highlighted a surge in arrests of political prisoners in Vietnam ahead of the APEC summit, criticizing the lack of focus on human rights by world leaders. Nam, Mother Mushroom's daughter, is living with her grandmother and younger brother while her mother remains imprisoned.

Donald Trump in Japan: What we've learnt from the first leg of the US President's 12

07 Nov 2017  |  abc.net.au
During the Japan leg of his Asia trip, US President Donald Trump emphasized his personal relationships with world leaders, particularly Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Trump and Abe both advocated for 'maximum pressure' on North Korea, contrasting with Obama's 'strategic patience' approach. The Trump administration is also reframing the regional narrative by using 'Indo-Pacific' instead of 'Asia Pacific', highlighting India's significance and maritime security. Trump's off-script remarks at a press conference with Abe revealed a competitive edge, overshadowing the intended camaraderie. The article suggests that while Obama's 'pivot' to Asia is no longer a policy, Trump's alternative vision for the region remains unclear.

Manus Island: Eight arrested after breakout at PNG immigration detention centre

16 Feb 2014  |  www.abc.net.au
35 asylum seekers escaped from the Manus Island detention centre but were quickly recaptured. The breakout, attributed to heightened tensions, resulted in eight arrests and 19 injuries. Immigration Minister Scott Morrison confirmed the situation is under control and reiterated the commitment to resettle refugees in Papua New Guinea. Local and international stakeholders, including the Australian Government and the United Nations, are involved in determining the resettlement policy. The Manus Island detention centre has a complex history, having been reopened by the Labor government in 2012 after its initial closure in 2008.

Maoists plot capitalist future after victory

24 Apr 2008  |  South China Morning Post
The Maoists, having secured a significant number of seats in Nepal's election, are planning to adopt capitalist economic policies to transition towards socialism. Despite their radical background, they aim to boost the economy through agriculture, tourism, IT, and hydropower, while maintaining diplomatic balance between India and China. They also plan to review the 1950 Indo-Nepal Treaty and have affirmed that Tibet is part of China, disallowing free-Tibet activities in Nepal. The US's designation of the Maoist party as terrorists, which affects aid programs, is another issue to be addressed.

Film exposes Irish poet preying on Nepali teens

28 Feb 2008  |  South China Morning Post
A documentary titled 'Fairytale of Kathmandu' has sparked debate in Ireland by exposing the sexual exploitation of Nepali teens by an Irish-language poet, O'Searcaigh. The film, which screened at the Dublin International Film Festival, questions the morality of O'Searcaigh's actions, although it does not accuse him of breaking any laws. The issue highlights the growing unchecked sex tourism industry in Nepal, exacerbated by factors such as poverty, weak law enforcement, and misplaced trust in foreigners. Social workers and police note an increase in sex tourism involving teenagers, with many cases involving gifts to lure children into abuse. Despite arrests, few foreigners have faced trial, with political instability and fear of diplomatic incidents hindering investigations.

Democracy for high Himalayas comes by yak teams, helicopter

18 Feb 2008  |  South China Morning Post
Nepal faces significant logistical challenges in conducting its upcoming national election due to its rugged topography, lack of infrastructure, and cold weather. The election, which will be the first without the logistical support of Nepal's army, will see 17.6 million voters elect 601 members of a Constituent Assembly. The Carter Centre, led by former US President Jimmy Carter, is deploying special teams to observe the election in remote areas. Security concerns are heightened due to militant threats, and financial constraints remain a challenge with a significant portion of the election budget still unfunded. The election process includes unique measures to accommodate high illiteracy rates and ensure voter integrity.

Trekkers forced to 'donate' after peace deal fails

12 Nov 2007  |  South China Morning Post
Tourists trekking in Nepal's Lamjung district are being coerced into making 'donations' by Maoist groups, despite a peace agreement prohibiting such actions. The United Revolutionary People's Council and the Young Communist League are enforcing these payments, sometimes using threats. While some trekkers feel threatened, others view the experience as less severe. The funds are purportedly for aiding martyr's families and improving conditions for Maoist fighters, though the exact use remains unclear.
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