BANGKOK, December 15 -- Cambodian police handed over a red-shirt extremist to Thai police after he surrendered to face bomb and murder charges for attacks against Bangkok Shutdown protesters in 2013 and 2014.
BANGKOK, December 15 -- The Foreign Ministry welcomes the idea of allowing embassy staff to observe the general election but not non-residents or foreign organisations.
Minister Don Pramudvinai told Thai media on Saturday the Election Commission (EC) had sought the Foreign Ministry’s view on election observation by foreigners.
“We told the EC the Thai government allows staff at embassies in the country to help monitor the poll but we don’t think non-residents or foreign organisations should take part since it would be viewed as bringing in outsiders,” he said. Mr Don added having embassy staff participate was enough to bolster Thailand’s overall image involving the election.
BANGKOK, December 14 -- Islam's guiding council in Thailand has introduced new regulations requiring that marriages with children under age 17 be approved by a religious committee.
The action follows an uproar earlier this year over an 11-year-old Thai girl who married a 41-year-old Malaysian man, triggering calls in both countries for stronger laws against child marriage. The girl was reportedly sent back to Thailand from Malaysia and put under the care of social welfare workers. Wisut Binlateh, a senior member of the Central Islamic Council of Thailand, said on Friday that Muslim children of any age in Thailand previously could get married with permission from their parents, but now children under age 17 must also seek approval from an Islamic committee which would consider whether the marriage is appropriate.
BANGKOK, December 13 -- The sentiment across broader Asia seemed less pessimistic about the trade deal, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edging up 0.8%.
Optimism about improving relations between the two superpowers grew after China made its first major US soybean purchases in more than six months on Wednesday, two US traders said, and its first since US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping struck a trade war truce in early December.
The SET index closed 19.89 points or 1.22% lower to 1,614.99, in trade worth 52.5 billion baht. The market hit their lowest since Nov 22. Shares of PTT Plc plunged to their lowest in more than four months at 47.50 baht, while those of PTT Exploration and Production PCL fell 6.7% to 125 baht. Oil prices were flat on Thursday under pressure from high inventories but buoyed by a drawdown in US crude stockpiles.
Indonesia's benchmark index climbed to a more than seven-month high, aided by consumer staples and telecom stocks. Shares of cigarette maker Gudang Garam Tbk PT added 1.8%, while those of Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Persero) Tbk Perusahaan Perseroan PT rose to its highest in more than a week.
However, the Southeast Asia's largest economy is expecting foreign direct investment to the country to be around $11 billion to $13 billion this year, less than the average in recent years of $20 billion per year. Philippines benchmark index eked out their third straight sessions of gains, rising to one-week high.
Meanwhile, the Philippine central bank held its benchmark interest rate steady on Thursday, as expected, in line with the outlook for the inflation rate to cool. The apex bank had raised rates by a total 175 basis points so far this year, at the past five consecutive meetings to tame inflation.
Singapore benchmark index climbed a near one-week high, while that of Malaysia added 0.8%.
BANGKOK, December 13 -- The Thai military junta this week announced that the country’s long-awaited elections will be held on February 24, 2019.
But while the government has lifted a ban on political activity, political parties and analysts say the measures are not enough to ensure the process will be democratic. “Partially relaxing control over political parties is not enough to guarantee that elections will be free and fair,” said Sunai Pasuk, a Thailand-based researcher for Human Rights Watch.
Thailand has been run by a military government since the army seized power in a coup d’etat in May 2014. The government has been promising elections since it took power, but this is the first time it has announced an official date. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha last Tuesday lifted restrictions including a controversial ban on political gatherings of five or more people as well as a rule preventing political parties from convening meetings without prior approval, holding political activities, or setting up party branches around the country. “This is a period of change that it is important for the country. People should contribute to choose the political parties,” his order said. “The people and political parties will be able to take part in political activities during this period leading up to the election in accordance with the constitution.” However, many restrictions on freedom of speech will remain during the run-up to the polls, and people could be prosecuted under sedition, computer-related crime, and lese majeste laws if they are not lifted, Sunai said.
“Everyone will [still] be expected to think and act in the same direction that the junta wants them to do,” he said. According to Human Rights Watch, more than 100 pro-democracy activists have been prosecuted since the beginning of 2018 under those laws “for peaceful expression of their views”. These include several key politicians, including the leader of the brand-new Future Forward Party, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, or top members of the main opposition party, Pheu Thai.Political parties are also confused about what they are allowed to do under the new order. The government says they are now free to campaign for votes, but some politicians worry of being prosecuted if they launch their campaigns before the royal decree officially calling for the February 24 election is published on January 2.
“When this law is [published], then we can do anything we want for the elections. Now, we cannot”, said Chusak Sirinil, legal adviser for Pheu Thai. According to Chusak, there are “double standards”, and “the government can do whatever they want” to campaign, referring to a recent policy that saw it give 500 baht (US$15) to low-income people as a New Year’s gift.
Pheu Thai is now being investigated by the Election Commission regarding its ties to former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, toppled in a coup in 2006, and could be dissolved if found guilty. Every party aligned with the ousted leader has won office since Thaksin became prime minister in 2001.
BANGKOK, December 12 -- A Thai tourist has been named among three people killed when a gunman opened fire near a Christmas market in Strasbourg.
The Thai embassy in Paris named the man as 45-year-old Anupong Suebsamarn. He had just arrived in the city and had been due to travel to Paris on Thursday, according to Sky News. Eleven people were injured in the incident which French authorities are calling a terror attack. The Thai ambassador is expected to travel to Strasbourg today. Peter Fritz told the BBC that Mr Suebsamarn suffered a head wound and could not be revived. He said: “We tried our best to resuscitate him. We applied CPR. We dragged him into a restaurant close by.” Mr Fritz said it took more than 45 minutes for an ambulance to arrive.
The horrifying scenes unfolded near the French city’s market, which draws millions of people every year, on Tuesday evening. The gunman remains at large and is being hunted by police after being injured in an exchange of gunfire with a soldier before reportedly escaping in a hijacked taxi. Police have named the suspect as Strasbourg-born Cherif Chekatt, 29. Officials said the suspected gunman has a criminal record and, according to the prefect of the region, had been flagged as a suspected extremist. France has raised its terror alert level in the aftermath of the attack.
Strasbourg Christmas market is one of the oldest in Europe with 300 wooden chalets set up in the city's historic centre from November 23 to Christmas Eve. It was being held amid tight security this year, with unauthorised vehicles banned from surrounding streets during opening hours and checkpoints set up to search bags. Roland Ries, the mayor of Strasbourg, said the Christmas market will be closed tomorrow and flags will be lowered to half-mast.
YANGON, December 8 -- A court in Myanmar’s restive Kachin state has jailed three activists for defaming the military, their lawyer said, as campaigners slammed the “chilling warning” the ruling sends to critical voices in the country.
Lum Zawng, Nang Pu and Zau Jet had helped organise an anti-war demonstration in April in the state capital Myitkyina to highlight the plight of thousands displaced by fighting between the military and ethnic Kachin insurgents. The youth leaders were sentenced on Friday to six months in prison and fined the equivalent of $320 each. Kachin is in the grip of one of the world’s longest-running civil wars, as rebels have clashed with the powerful military for six decades over autonomy, ethnic identity, drugs, jade and other natural resources in the country’s northeast. Fighting surged dramatically this year, forcing thousands to flee to camps in remote parts of the state with inadequate access to aid.
In late April, amid public anger over the fresh violence, the three youth leaders organised a peaceful protest demanding help for the people taking refuge in camps. It also sparked protests in Yangon and Mandalay in a rare show of solidarity. The defence told the court that the leaders had “no intention” of defaming the Tatmadaw, as the military is called, and were more concerned with the fate of displaced people, lawyer Doi Bu told AFP. “But the court viewed them as harming the Tatmadaw,” she said, adding that they plan to appeal on Monday. The European Union said it “deeply regrets” the court’s decision and called for the sentences to be reviewed.
Three other activists protested against the ruling by marching in front of the court, prompting police to charge them for “protesting without permission”. They were bailed and will face trial at a later date.
“These jail sentences reflect a pattern of continued attacks” against civil society speaking out against the military, said Amnesty International’s Tirana Hassan. “It sends a chilling warning to [anyone] who wants to tell the truth about the Myanmar military’s brutality in Kachin and northern Shan states.” Rights groups estimate more than 106,000 people languish in displacement camps across conflict-torn Kachin and Shan states.
Ethnic Kachin are mainly Christians in a nation that is overwhelmingly Buddhist. While international focus has been on the Rohingya crisis in Rakhine state, an army unit accused of atrocities against the Muslim minority group has been redeployed to Kachin — which experts say is an ominous sign for civilians.
BANGKOK, December 2 -- Despite pending legal trouble, a man and his best friend, a buffalo, are enjoying a reunion of sorts.
Surat Paewkate, a 34-year-old worker in Chai Nat province, on Sunday was seen playing with three buffaloes, including “Thong Kham” which had brought him into the limelight on the Internet and then landed him in legal trouble.
“I am so happy that we are now back together,” Surat said, “I missed him every single day when we were apart.” Many locals gathered around Surat and his buffalo friends to express moral support.
Hired to take care of these buffaloes since early November, Surat has become particularly fond of Thong Kham. Often, he has posted pictures of himself with Thong Kham on the Internet, which got numerous “Likes” and made him famous. While enjoying the limelight, Surat started a crowd-funding campaign inviting netizens to donate money for his dream to take ownership of Thong Kham.
The campaign attracted more than Bt100,000 in donations, but it also promoted Thong Kham’s owner, the mayor of Tambon Suk Duan Ha municipality Boonlert Kadpakdee, to take legal action against Surat.
Boonlert accused Surat of several charges related to the fund-raising, explaining that he had never offered to sell Thong Kham.
Last week, police confiscated the money raised by the campaign and took away Thong Kham.
After negotiations, Surat was allowed to take Thong Kham under his care while the legal case against him proceeded. “We can’t keep Thong Kham at the police station. So, we asked if Boonlert would agree to let Surat take custody of the animal. He has not objected,” Khan Na Yow Police Station superintendent Pol Colonel Sing Singdej said. He said Boonlert did not complain because a donor had given him Bt100,000 to cover the cost of Thong Kham, if he would really hand it over to Surat.
BANGKOK, December 1 -- A Chinese tourist, 39, sustained severe leg injuries when she was hit by a propeller while the boat was moving to moor at Pileh Bay of Koh Phi Phi on Saturday.
The woman got off from the speedboat, King Poseidon 23, at its rear to dive while the skipper was backing the boat to moor, said police who were reported at around 9am on Saturday.
The tourist, identified later as Jang Sia Dan sustained severe wounds on both legs. She was immediately taken to Koh Phi Phi Hospital for treatment before being transferred to Vachira Hospital in Phuket due to severe bleeding, Thai media reported on Saturday.
A police investigation found that the woman and 19 other Chinese tourists boarded the King Poseidon 23 of a tour company in Phuket to dive at Koh Phi Phi island.
BANGKOK, December 1 -- Thailand has made significant progress towards its ambitious goal of ending Aids by 2030.
It's something UNAids hopes to accomplish but for which few countries are on a good track. Despite some 440,000 people still living with HIV in Thailand as World Aids Day 2018 arrives on December 1, the nation can take a bow for having built a solid foundation on which to continue building towards the dream of an HIV-free society.
An estimated 98 per cent of people living with HIV in Thailand know their status. And 75 per cent of them have access to retroviral drugs, which have proven so effective that when a regular dose is taken, someone with HIV can live a normal, healthy and happy life for decades.
One of the top authors of The Peet Journal is Pete McGea. As a native born Scotsman, Pete
Editor in Chief
As Editor in chief I manage and oversee the content produced for publications or websites. This includes reviewing all content produced, such as articles and photographs, developing strategies and style guidelines, and representing the brand at social events throughout the year. I work in an office-based environment and typically work full time, although they may be required to work additional hours, particularly around deadlines. I have a strong business acumen, excellent writing and proofreading skills, networking and interpersonal skills, and the ability to guide a team towards business goals. By the way, my name is Lora Smith.