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Junta not invited at US embassy

Posted by hasekamp on 30 June 2014 at 21:46 PM
It is very hard for the United States to regard the military coup in Thailand as business as usual. The US embassy in Bangkok has not extended an invitation to any key member of the junta to attend its Independence Day celebration this week. Washington has discouraged formal associations or celebrations with Thai military officers who were directly involved in the military coup on May 22 to topple the elected government, according to a diplomatic source. The ruling National Council for Peace and Order's spokesman Colonel Werachon Sukondhapatipak confirmed that the US embassy did not invite any senior military officers. The US embassy has organised a reception on Thursday at a Bangkok hotel to celebrate Independence Day. It usually extends invitations to senior officials in government agencies, high society figures and the diplomatic community. People started receiving the invitations last week but junta leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha and his four deputies did not get one. (Source: The Nation)


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Suthep not allowed to give dinners

Posted by hasekamp on 29 June 2014 at 20:39 PM
Suthep Thaugsuban has cancelled his weekly fundraising dinner including the one scheduled for today after Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha warned against such a move. The secretary general of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) apologised his supporters on his Facebook, telling them the dinner scheduled for today would be cancelled. He also wrote the weekly dinner would be called off as well but did not give any reason. Since the post was made shortly after Gen Prayuth made a national address on Friday, it was anticipated this could be the reason. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Prime reason for the coup

Posted by hasekamp on 29 June 2014 at 20:34 PM
Military says preventing bloodshed was prime reason for coup; vast haul shows deadly nature of conflict. In another attempt the justify the May 22 coup, the junta yesterday paraded lethal weapons confiscated from warring political groups in front of military attaches and the media. National Council for Peace and Order spokesman Winthai Suvari said heading off further bloodshed was the main reason behind the power seizure. "Otherwise people would have used these weapons to wage the war against each other and, thus, potentially affect the safety of people and their property," he said. The First Army Region Commander Therachai Nakwanit presided over the parade. Military attaches from 11 countries attended the event. The weapons confiscated over the past month include 144 rifles, 258 shotguns, 2,490 pistols, 23 M79 grenade launchers, 9 RPG launchers, 330 hand grenades, 134 items of TNT explosive material and more than 50,000 ammunitions for many kinds of gun and rifles, Winthai said. (Source: The Nation)


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Good business for Yingluck

Posted by hasekamp on 28 June 2014 at 11:11 AM
Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra's wealth increased by some Bt33 million while she was in office, according to the anti-graft agency. Yingluck was richer by the time she was forced to step down, but other ministers in her Cabinet got poorer, the body said. As of May 7 when she was disqualified from office following a ruling by the Constitutional Court, Yingluck had assets worth Bt601 million and Bt28 million in debt. Her son Supasek Amornchat had assets worth Bt 1.3 million. Yingluck's assets excluded those of her unmarried spouse Anusorn Amornchat, who declared assets worth Bt36 million. Yingluck's wealth is mostly from stocks she holds in many firms, including SC Asset Corporation, which rose in value during her tenure. She also has some cash in a bank account but did not declare a luxury watch, something that former opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva mentioned previously during a parliamentary session. (Source: The Nation)


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New elections in 2015

Posted by hasekamp on 28 June 2014 at 11:07 AM
Elections for parliamentarians are expected to be held in October 2015 and a democratically elected government in place late next year, the junta leader said last night. General Prayuth Chan-ocha, chief of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), said a provisional charter would be promulgated next month and a new constitution could be announced by August next year. When the new constitution is in place, the NCPO's interim government will spend about three months preparing for the election of new parliamentarians, according to Prayuth, who is also Army commander-in-chief. "The elections to be held under the new constitution will be fair and just in order to bring about a constructive and complete democracy," he said during his weekly TV address. "You will get a democratically elected government by 2015. Please take it easy. We need some time for reforms. Things should be done by next year." He said a national legislative assembly would be set up about a month after the interim charter is in place and a new interim government could start functioning in September. Prayuth said last night the interim charter would require reforms in all areas, such as politics, the economy, society, the environment, energy and the justice system. He said a national reform council set up via the interim charter would implement reforms in all areas and suggest to a constitution drafting committee how the new constitution should be written to achieve reform. It was reported earlier that the NCPO's power would remain the same even after an interim government is installed. The interim charter will include Article 17, which will give the NCPO greater powers than the government, the Isra News Agency reported. (Source: The Nation)


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Taxi business plan

Posted by hasekamp on 25 June 2014 at 22:05 PM
The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) says its efforts to regulate taxi services in Bangkok and surrounding provinces will begin to take shape in two months. Addressing a meeting of 113 taxi cooperatives and 13 booking centres Tuesday, Maj Gen Nirandorn Samutsakhon, who heads the military junta's task force in charge of regulating taxi services and stamping out extortion rackets, said the transport overhaul plan was divided into three stages. In the first step, the goal is to ensure proper law enforcement to prevent "influential people" from meddling with taxi service operators, said Maj Gen Nirandorn, who commands the 11th Military Circle which is responsible for security in Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, Nakhon Pathom and Samut Sakhon. In the second step, the junta's task force would amend transport regulations to enhance authorities' ability to tackle problems with taxi services, which should be completed in two months. The final step will focus on ensuring the reform is sustainable, Maj Gen Nirandorn said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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EU suspends partnership

Posted by hasekamp on 24 June 2014 at 21:25 PM
The European Union has suspended official visits to and from Thailand as well as the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with Thailand, highlighting its call for the immediate restoration of the legitimate democratic process and the Constitution. Other agreements will, as appropriate, be affected. EU Member States have already begun to review their military cooperation with Thailand. In a statement following its meeting today in Luxembourg, the European Union's Foreign Affairs Council said that the suspension would stay until a democratically elected government is in place. Other agreements will, as appropriate, be affected. EU Member States have already begun to review their military cooperation with Thailand. "Only an early and credible roadmap for a return to constitutional rule and the holding of credible and inclusive elections will allow for the EU's continued support. The Council decided that the EU will keep its relations with Thailand under review and will consider further possible measures, depending on circumstances," it said in the statement. (Source: The Nation)


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Who speaks the truth?

Posted by hasekamp on 23 June 2014 at 15:29 PM
Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha has denied having talked or exchanged messages in private with Suthep Thaugsuban ahead of the May 22 coup. Mr Suthep, leader of the opposition forces against the Yingluck Shinawatra government, said at a fundraising dinner during the weekend he had been advising the junta chief on how to unseat the Thaksin regime since 2010. Mr Suthep said he chatted regularly with Gen Prayuth and his team via the Line chat app and that Gen Prayuth told him shortly before martial law was announced it was now time for the army to take over the task. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Gambling forbidden? Go to Cambodia!

Posted by hasekamp on 22 June 2014 at 18:51 PM
Desperate for a flutter during a junta crackdown on gambling at home, Thais are making a beeline for casinos in a seedy Cambodian border town -- which has already been deluged by migrants also fleeing the kingdom. For over a decade Poipet, a scruffy, vice-ridden frontier town studded with casinos and online gambling booths, has lured customers from neighbouring Thailand, where betting is all but banned. Casino staff in Poipet told AFP the chips have been changing hands at an unusually fast rate since the Thai army seized power across the border on May 22. A junta blitz on organised crime has seen raids on underground casinos, dozens of arrests and access to a number of online gambling sites blocked. (Source: The Nation)


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Thailand disappointed

Posted by hasekamp on 21 June 2014 at 22:43 PM
THAILAND is "disappointed and disagrees" with the US State Department over its decision to downgrade the country in the latest Trafficking in Persons report to the lowest ranking, insisting tangible progress has been made in trying to solve the problem. However, officials said Thailand would continue to improve its methods in preventing and suppressing human trafficking. Foreign Ministry permanent secretary Sihasak Phuangketkeow told a press conference yesterday that Thailand was "disappointed and disagrees" with the decision and had previously provided the US with a rundown of the measures it had taken to combat the issue. (Source: The Nation)


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Prayuth to retire or not?

Posted by hasekamp on 21 June 2014 at 22:39 PM
A Defence Ministry order has been issued, listing the names of retiring officers including junta chief Prayuth Chan-ocha and his deputies. While this is routine paperwork, it remains to be seen whether another order will be issued before Sept 30, the end of fiscal 2014, to extend the service of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)'s key members. Of about 400 names in the order, 117 are in the army. In addition to General Prayuth, other key NCPO members about to retire are NCPO deputies Gen Thanasak Patimapakorn, Adm Narong Pipattanasai and ACM Prajin Juntong, who are also heads of the Supreme Command, the Royal Thai Navy and the Royal Thai Air Force respectively. Three scenarios are possible, according to political observers. In two of them, Gen Prayuth could remain as NCPO chief so he could continue to supervise the new government to be set up in early September. The difference is whether he would retire as army chief or extend his term while serving as NCPO chief. The other scenario is that Gen Prayuth could become prime minister himself in line with the NCPO's increasing popularity. He could then appoint new heads of the armed forces so the ranks and files could be promoted. Earlier, ACM Prajin, his close friend, said 90% of the people were satisfied with the NCPO's performance. An army source said while Gen Prayuth was satisfied with the vote of confidence, he was not so sure about the long term as now was the "honeymoon period". "We have to work hard to show the people we did not come because we want power but because we really want to solve the country's problems. How do we do this transparently and without conflicts of interests?" the source quoted Gen Prayuth as saying. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Now martial law should end

Posted by hasekamp on 17 June 2014 at 13:27 PM
Key tourism bodies have called on the military junta to lift martial law in a further effort to lure foreign tourists back to the Kingdom. "The military has lifted the curfew to restore the travel environment, but this will be good mainly for domestic travel, not for the entire sector. [Foreign] tourists would like to see martial law lifted before they come," said Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents, which specialises in inbound tourism. The junta last week lifted the curfew nationwide after enforcing it for three weeks, but kept martial law in place, citing national-security concerns. The ruling National Council for Peace and Order has also vowed to shore up domestic tourism with a grant of Bt845 million over the next three to four months. Tourism associations earlier delivered tourism recovery plans to the military, included lifting martial law. "We needed help, and lifting martial law is the only thing left. If this were done, it would ensure tourists' confidence and encourage them to return to Thailand," Sisdivachr said. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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More foreign confidence

Posted by hasekamp on 16 June 2014 at 18:55 PM
Confidence is growing among the business community and investors after the nationwide curfew was revoked on Friday, said the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI)'s chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree on Monday. The lifting the curfew boosted the confidence and also facilitated nighttime businesses in Thailand as it has demonstrated there are no violent situations in the country, he said. Supant said that Thai and foreign investors who have business in Thailand now have more confident, while investors from abroad have more confidence in Thailand. They are now awaiting economic stimulation and investment-related measures from the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). (Source: The Nation)


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Public transport normal again

Posted by hasekamp on 14 June 2014 at 22:29 PM
All operators of electric trains in Bangkok resumed their normal service hours from 6am to midnight on Saturday after the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) lifted curfew nationwide on Friday night. Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc, which operates the elevated the BTS skytrain, announced on Saturday to resume its service hours from 6am to midnight after curfew lift. The State Railway of Thailand, which operates the elevated Airport Rail Link, and Bangkok Metro Plc, the operator of Bangkok's subway system (MRT), also resumed their normal service hours on Saturday. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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interim government in September

Posted by hasekamp on 13 June 2014 at 14:45 PM
An interim government is expected to be set up in late August or early September at the latest, said Army Commander-in-Chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, leader of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), early Friday. Gen Prayuth said appointment of a new prime minister could be complete by September while urgent matters which have to be carried out now are to build reconciliation among those having political differences and establishing a reform council to be used for submitting opinions. He spoke while presiding over preparations of budget expenditures for state agencies during Fiscal 2015, starting October 1. (Source: MCOT news)


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In case you hadn't noticed

Posted by hasekamp on 13 June 2014 at 11:46 AM
The average TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score in Thailand last year was among the three lowest for Asean countries, Enconcept E-Academy executive Apitha Wonlopsiri said yesterday. He said the country's average score was 76 points (it was 74 points last year), but was still among the bottom three, which included Cambodia (69) and Laos (68). Singapore topped the list with 98 points followed by Malaysia and Philippines (89), Indonesia (82), Myanmar (79) and Vietnam (78). Apitha called on Thai students to urgently improve their English language skills. He said the main reasons for the low score included the emphasis on translating English, students lacking clear objectives, a fixed teaching pattern and a fear of failure among students. As a result, he said the academy had introduced the "TOEFL X-CHANGE" tablet, which had eight language-learning applications to allow children to practice English anytime, anywhere. (Source: The Nation)


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Curfew lifted in more places

Posted by hasekamp on 11 June 2014 at 23:26 PM
Curfew has been lifted across certain districts in another 17 provinces, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) announced on Tuesday night. The order applies to two districts in Songkhla province - Sadao and Muang - while Hat Yai district is already free from the restriction. Phetchaburi and Trat provinces now enjoy full exemption from the curfew, as do Cha-am and Koh Chang districts in the respective provinces. Other provinces where the curfew no longer applies are Kanchanaburi, Ratchaburi, Rayong, Chanthaburi, Nakhon Phanom, Sakhon Nakhon, Roi Et, Loei, Surin, Tak, Sukhothai, Mae Hong Son, Uttaradit, Phrae, Nan, Trang and Satun. Curfew was previously lifted in Pattaya in Chon Buri province, Krabi, Phang Nga and Phuket provinces, Koh Samui and Koh Pha-ngan in Surat Thani province and Hua Hin district in Prachuap Khiri Khan province. (Source: The Nation)


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This is not wise

Posted by hasekamp on 10 June 2014 at 12:21 PM
Activist Chalad Worachat Tuesday filed a criminal lawsuit against junta chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha and 26 others, alleging them with sedition and lese majeste. The suit was filed at the Criminal Court, which has yet to decide whether to accept or reject it. (Source: The Nation)


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Wooing was succesful

Posted by hasekamp on 9 June 2014 at 16:07 PM
Many countries including Australia and New Zealand have better understanding and more confidence on Thailand after learning about the junta's three-stage roadmap. Senior officials from many countries including the United States, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, South Korea and India met last week in Yangon in preparation for the East Asia Summit last week. Thai Foreign Ministry's permanent secretary Sihasak Puangketkaew said Monday that he took opportunity to explain the situation in Thailand to those participants. They were informed that Thailand was solving its problems to quickly restore its order, Sihasak said, and they understood Thailand. Daniel Russel, US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, told the meeting that Thailand was an important partner and he hoped that Thailand would return to democracy soon. (Source: The Nation)


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Contempt of court = jail

Posted by hasekamp on 9 June 2014 at 16:00 PM
The Civil Court handed down an unsuspended two-month jail sentence on three activists for contempt of court. Darunee Krittaboonyalai, a businesswoman, Sudsa-nguan Sutheesorn, a lecturer at Thammasat University's Social Science Faculty, and Picha Vichitsilp, a lawyer for the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship, led a group of protesters to lay wreaths and hold placards at the Civil Court on Feb 21, criticising one of its rulings. They were disappointed the court had ruled two days earlier the government might not exercise its power under the emergency decree to disperse the protests by People's Democratic Reform Committee because the Constitutional Court had ruled they were peaceful. Since Mrs Sudsa-nguan and Mr Picha confessed, their jail term was commuted to one month. The court also issued an arrest warrant on Mrs Darunee, who failed to show up on Monday. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Wooing the foreign envoys

Posted by hasekamp on 7 June 2014 at 22:54 PM
In an apparent attempt to update the international community about the post-coup situation in Thailand, the Foreign Ministry will on Wednesday hold a meeting between junta leaders, foreign ambassadors and Thai envoys based overseas. Meanwhile, a joint force of police and soldiers from 42 companies (about 4,200 people) will be dispatched today to five locations in Bangkok where anti-coup protesters plan to gather, deputy national police chief General Somyot Poompanmoung said. The permanent secretary at the Foreign Ministry, Sihasak Phuangketkeow, yesterday said the ministry would invite ambassadors for a discussion with General Prayuth Chan-ocha, leader of the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), and deputy junta leader General Tanasak Patimapragorn. The aim is to explain to the diplomatic community why the military needed to seize power on May 22 and detail the NCPO's measures to restore peace in the country, according to Sihasak. Prayuth is also the Army commander-in-chief and Tanasak, who is in charge the NCPO's security affairs, is the supreme commander of the Armed Forces. Sihasak said Western countries, particularly the United States, Australia and the European Union, were "especially worried" about the political situation in Thailand. (Source: The Nation)


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Curfew lifted in more places

Posted by hasekamp on 7 June 2014 at 10:30 AM
The military on Friday lifted a curfew in four more tourist destinations, apparently in the hope of further easing the impact on tourism. The four resorts €” all popular among Thai and foreign tourists for their beaches €” are Cha-am, Hua Hin, Krabi and Phang-Nga. A curfew has been removed since Tuesday in three other resorts €” Pattaya, Samui and Phuket. The tourism industry has complained the curfew imposed immediately after the May 22 coup by the Army was adversely affecting their business. The National Council for Peace and Order, formed by the junta leaders, imposed the curfew initially from 10pm to 5am across the country and later shortened it to midnight until 4am. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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PR for foreigners

Posted by hasekamp on 6 June 2014 at 11:22 AM
The military junta has kicked off an international public relations offensive in a bid to blunt mounting criticism from the West and to improve Thailand's post-coup global standing. Permanent secretary for foreign affairs Sihasak Phuangketkeow said Thursday that the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has set a clear plan for implementation of its three-stage plan €” reconciliation, reform and elections €” to return electoral democracy over the next 15 months. Mr Sihasak, who has assumed the responsibilities of acting foreign minister, said he plans to visit Asean countries as well as China, Japan and Australia to convince them of the junta's efforts to pursue elections. He was speaking during an official two-day visit to Vietnam on Thursday, where he met Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh. After the meeting, he said Hanoi still sees Thailand as having an important role in the region and continues to regard it as a key strategic partner despite the military putsch. He said he also plans to meet foreign correspondents based in Thailand to clarify the post-coup situation, and would use "all channels of communication" to explain the situation to the international community and foreign reporters. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Brushing up the image

Posted by hasekamp on 5 June 2014 at 10:17 AM
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is holding a grand street concert with the aim of boosting tourism and Thailand's image in the international community. According to TAT deputy director Vilaivarn Thawitsri, the agency has allocated more than Bt200 million for its plan to hold street concerts in Bangkok. The concerts will take place on three main roads of the city: Silom, Asoke, and Ratchaprasong. The street concerts will be held for nine days and nights in August in an attempt to boost Bangkok's image and promote tourism in the capital city. The street concerts will also be held in other tourist cities including Chiang Mai, Phuket, Pattaya and Hua Hin. The TAT has already proposed the project to the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), saying the objective of the campaign is to bring happiness to all people. The agency will also forge ahead with its plan to hold "Thailand Grand Sales", which will kick off this month and end in September. This year's event will be held in cooperation with Thai Airways International. (Source: The Nation)


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Some foreign support

Posted by hasekamp on 4 June 2014 at 15:58 PM
China and Vietnam have expressed support for Thailand's new military government, an army spokesman said on Wednesday, as pro-army groups planned to demonstrate at the Australian Embassy for downgrading relations after last month's coup. Several foreign governments have voiced disapproval of the coup, which saw Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha take power after months of political unrest that undermined the government of Yingluck Shinawatra. "China's and Vietnam's ambassadors to Thailand met Supreme Commander Gen Thanasak Patimaprakorn yesterday and assured us that they still have a good relationship with Thailand and that they hope the situation will return to normal quickly," Yongyuth Mayalarp, a spokesman for the military's National Council for Peace and Order, told reporters. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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No more curfew in some places

Posted by hasekamp on 3 June 2014 at 12:22 PM
The National Council for Peace Order (NCPO) on Tuesday issued an announcement ending the night curfew in Pattaya City in Chon Buri province, Koh Samui in Surat Thani, and the entire island province of Phuket. The announcement, signed by NCPO leader Prayuth Chan-ocha, took effect immediately. The NCPO had earlier said it would consider lifting the curfew selectively in tourist areas where the situation had proved and there were no anti-coup activities. The NCPO initially imposed the curfew nationwide between 10pm and 5am. It later reduced the curfew between midnight and 4am. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Three fingers up = jail?

Posted by hasekamp on 3 June 2014 at 12:20 PM
The military's National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) is having a headache clarifying whether a person flashing the anti-coup three-finger sign is guilty, should be arrested and such gesture is doable. Army deputy spokesman Col Winthai Suwaree said the NCPO would first look at the intention of those holding up three fingers €” a gesture used as an anti-coup symbol €” before deciding on what action to be taken. He was responding to questions regarding the latest anti-coup symbol by Bangkok Post military affairs reporter Wassana Nanuam. "[The NCPO] must look at their intention, what they want to communicate and surrounding circumstances," Col Winthai said. The sign represents liberty, equality and fraternity used by demonstrators to signal their stance. Military officers usually used compromise and negotiation with the protesters, said Col Winthai, but they would enforce the law and make arrests if find it necessary. Six people, four of them women, have been arrested for allegedly violating martial law during anti-coup gatherings in the Ratchaprasong and Asoke areas and outside Fortune Town shopping mall over the weekend. Military prosecutors had not decided yet whether to indict them, Col Winthai said, adding the group, if indicted, would be tried in a military court. Soldiers on Monday questioned the six and sent them to Crime Suppression Division (CSD) for background checks and having their cases put in a daily record. They are being detained there pending further legal proceedings. According to the NCPO, violators of martial law found to have violent behavior, resist or obstruct security officers would be prosecuted. Those defying it in a peaceful manner would be held for seven days and released. A total of 25 protesters have been detained at the CSD, 16 of which were set free, after the army enforced martial law on May 20. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Retreat from democracy? No!

Posted by hasekamp on 2 June 2014 at 9:49 AM
Thailand is not retreating from democracy and seeks understanding from its economic and strategic partners while the country undergoes political reforms, a top Thai official said yesterday. Sihasak Phuangketkeow, Thailand's permanent secretary for foreign affairs, was responding to criticism by US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel who noted Thailand's "retreat from democracy" and announced that the Pentagon was suspending military assistance and engagements with Thailand. "We urge the Royal Thai Armed Forces to release those who have been detained, end restrictions on free expression, and move immediately to restore power to the people of Thailand through free and fair elections," Hagel said on Saturday at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. "Until that happens, as US law requires, the Department of Defence is suspending and reconsidering US military assistance and engagements with Bangkok," Hagel said. (Source: The Nation)


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Shaking up State Enterprises

Posted by hasekamp on 2 June 2014 at 9:45 AM
The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) insisted it has no plans to change the boards of the 56 state-owned enterprises at this time. NCPO spokesman Col Winthai Suvaree addressed the issue on Sunday following the meeting between NCPO deputy chief ACM Prajin Jantong, head of economic affairs for the NCPO and executives of the state enterprises at the Army Club on Saturday. Col Winthai said the meeting was aimed at reviewing the state enterprises' projects so that efficiency can be improved. No change is being made to the boards of the enterprises, the spokesman said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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US unimpressed

Posted by hasekamp on 1 June 2014 at 10:08 AM
The United States has dismissed a plan laid out by Thailand's military chief to delay elections for more than a year to allow time for political reforms. "We know that they have announced a, quote, 'road map toward democracy', but with scant details included," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said yesterday. She insisted that Washington believed the best path forward was "to set a timeline for early elections and to facilitate an inclusive and transparent electoral process". In his first televised national address after announcing the takeover 10 days ago, junta chief Prayuth Chan-ocha said the military regime planned to work towards returning to democracy in around 15 months. (Source:The Nation) Meanwhile Australia has put the Thai junta on the blacklist for immigration.


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