Who can fire the government?

From Manager, April 3, 2014
Thaksin Shinawatra to his sister, Yingluck: See… I really trust in Ai Tou.
The guard: I’m an employee of his company. How can I fire the company’s owner? I have to protect my own status.
On the guard’s left arm: Security
Sign on the building: the Shinawatra Co., Ltd.
Caption: You heard the company’s guard… Is it clear now?
[The words spoken by Thaksin here refer to an audio clip of a conversation between Thaksin and Gen Yutthasak Sasiprapha, former defense minister in Yingluck cabinet. In the clip they talked about ways the government could enable a Thaksin return to Thailand and Thaksin expressed confidence in Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Army. This led to rumors that the clip meant that Thaksin had reached an agreement with the army chief not to block his return to Thailand and to political power.
The guard is Gen. Prayuth. The words he says refer to an interview when he stated that he cannot deny the government's authority which is the same as an employee who cannot fire the owner of the company he/she works for. This led to disappointment from many who wished the army would exercise its traditional self-proclaimed role as a power that can remove a government that becomes too corrupt, greedy, or otherwise upsets the balance of power in the Thai system.
Since the present government has attempted a broad rewriting of the constitution, used state funds in populism schemes narrowly designed to benefit its party supporters, denied court oversight of its actions, forced Shinawatra family relatives into key roles again (like the chief of police), and attempted to give Thaksin a pardon, anti-government groups think it is acceptable for the army to step in. The carton expresses disappointment that the army chief is not willing to take action against Thaksin and the government.]

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Sign from a protest

Sign at Silom and Rama 4 Road

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Tourists from the Lanna Republic


From Thairath, April 2, 2014
Left, Foreign Minister Surapong Tovijakchaikul: I have to ask military officers to move bunkers back to the camps because these bunkers frighten foreign tourists!
Middle, Soldier: Tourists from which country, sir? Why are they so panicky?
Right, Surapong: They are from PRC Lanna who’re going to visit on the 5th.
[This refers to Red Shirt protest outside of Bangkok on April 5. Over the past months calls from Red Shirt supporters have grown for a new state to be formed in the north to protect the Yingluck government.
The joke is that the army checkpoints in Bangkok really scare the separatist Red Shirts who wish to occupy Bangkok like they did in 2009 and 2010.]

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Thailand second deadliest nation in Asia for environmental activists

More Than 900 Environmental Advocates Slain In A Decade As Concern For The Planet Grows – AP, April 14, 2014
[Thanks to Tom for pointing this out.]
…As head of his village, Prajob Naowa-opas battled to save his community in central Thailand from the illegal dumping of toxic waste by filing petitions and leading villagers to block trucks carrying the stuff — until a gunman in broad daylight fired four shots into him.
A year later, his three alleged killers, including a senior government official, are on trial for murder. The dumping has been halted and villagers are erecting a statue to their slain hero…

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Hezbollah members arrested in Thailand

Hezbollah members arrested in Thailand: report – The Daily Star, April 14, 2014
…The Thai website dedicated to gathering intelligence reports identified the three arrested suspects as a Thai citizen, Y. Ayyad, who was described as a member of a foreign operations unit of Hezbollah working out of East Asia…

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Thai tourism ministry ordered to help cheated tourists

Thai tourism ministry ordered to help cheated tourists – eturbonews.com, April 13, 2014
…Yukhon, who looks after the ministry, has ordered its permanent secretary Suwat Sidthilaw to make a list of the deceived victims. The names will be sorted into groups to lodge complaints against wrongdoers, making clear the problems from case to case…

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Dream a sweet dream together

From Thairath, April 1, 2014
Cartoon title: Dream a sweet dream together
Suthep Thuagsuban’s thought balloon: Declaring a sovereign state; Cases on ordering to kill the Red Shirt dismissed; Case on occupying land at Khao Phaeng dismissed; the Insurrection case dismissed [Suthep is secretary-general of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC). These thoughts indicate the legal cases and charges that have been leveled against him over the years.]
Masked man’s thought balloon: (Forcefully) appointed Premier
On masked man’s shirt: A decent person [meaning the person who might be appointed as the next PM]
On money bag in masked man’s hand: Autocratic dictatorship
Phi Nooring: Will be Thai people’s nightmare
Mouse: Who’s the masked man?
[Holding the leash of the masked future PM is an arm with a quilted sleeve indicating it is Privy Councillor Prem and, by extension, the monarchy which the Privy Council represents. These coded references have often been used in pro-Thaksin cartoons and publications to indicate who they they think their real opponents are.]

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A loan from Tan

From Komchadluek, March 26, 2014
Yingluck Shinawatra: Uh!! The thing is the government is broke. So I’d like to ask Khun Tan for 3,800 million to organize another election.
[Tan is Tan Passakornnatee, best known as the founder of the Oishi Group of Japanese restaurants. This cartoon refers to a recent incident when a student marching band essentially extorted 3.1 million baht from him to sponsor their overseas trip.
In the carton, PM Yingluck asks Tan for money to organize another election. The attempts of the government to call another election have been ridiculed by opponents who claim that the current government is saddled with legal cases they cannot be rid of by calling another election.]

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Thaksin’s Songkran message: Let’s forgive and forget

Thaksin: Let’s forgive and forget – Bangkok Post, April 12, 2014
…”Let’s make April 13 the day we put everything behind us and be generous to one another like when disasters struck, whether it was the tsunami or the great floods, during which Thais lent a hand to one another.
“I love, respect and care for all Thais but you don’t have to worry about me. I’m in good health. My only concern is for Thailand to be peaceful and Thais to love another once again…”

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In Picturesque Thailand, Coal Plant Draws Protests

In Picturesque Thailand, Coal Plant Draws Protests – VOA, April 11, 2014
Environmental activists in Thailand are protesting plans to reopen an 800-megawatt coal plant in a coastal region, Krabi, that is popular with eco-tourists. The controversy pits Thailand’s growing energy needs against its image as a seaside paradise…

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Weekly News Magazines, April 4, 2014

Nation Weekend_4 April 2014

From Nation Weekend, April 4, 2014
Cover reads: The national neutral man
[Reference is to Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha's role amid political conflict. He maintains that the armed forces must remain neutral.]

Matichon Weekly_4 April 2014
From Matichon Weekly, April 4, 2014
Cover reads: Keep smiling though being aware of the defeat
[Reference is to the current situation of the caretaker premier Yingluck Shinawatra who has been saddled with numerous legal cases. It is assumed that she will be forced from office due to these cases.]

ASTV Manager Weekly_5 April 2014

From ASTV Manager Weekly, April 5,2014
Cover reads: Love, kiss kiss
[The woman is Anchalee Paireerak, one of the key leaders of the anti-Thaksin protesters.
In top-left heart is Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, the Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Army. In the top-right one is Suthep Thuagsuban, key leader of the anti-government protesters. In the small heart shape is Kanok Ratwongsakul, famous new anchor and supporter of the anti-Thaksin groups.
The article suggests that these three men are deemed as idols of the anti-Thaksin movement.]

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One family’s fight against Cambodia land grabs

One family’s fight against Cambodia land grabs – ucanews.com, April 10, 2014
…Mak Siv Hong, 51, lives in the shack with her family of three. The past year has been a nightmare of repeated intimidation and attacks by thugs she claims were hired by the Khun Sear Import and Export Company to try and push them off the land…

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Kim Kardashian’s ‘extreme Thai treatments’: butt slapping

Kim K’s ‘extreme Thai treatments’ – belfasttelegraph.co.uk, April 9, 2014
…Included in these supposed treatments was the ancient procedure of butt, face and breast slapping. Costing £200 for a 15-minute session, fans of the treatment says wrinkles are erased, pores are shrunk and skin feels tightened…

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Phuket police ‘too busy’ to extradite man accused of killing girlfriend in Thailand

Police ‘too busy’ to extradite Hull man Mick ‘the Pom’ Taylor accused of killing girlfriend in Thailand – hulldailymail.co.uk, April 10, 2014
…Mr Taylor denied the charge, claiming he had been having sex on a beach with a ladyboy at the time Miss Weangta, 27, was killed…

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Reuters: Flaws found in Thailand’s human-trafficking crackdown

Flaws found in Thailand’s human-trafficking crackdown – Reuters, April 10, 2014
…A two-part Reuters investigation in three countries, based on interviews with people smugglers, human traffickers and Rohingya who survived boat voyages from Myanmar, last year showed how the treatment of Rohingya often constituted trafficking. Reporters found that hundreds were held against their will in brutal trafficking camps in the Thai wilderness…

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Cambodia cyber law to penalize any website that “generates insecurity, instability, and political cohesiveness”

Cambodia’s Draft Cyber Law Threatens Free Speech – thediplomat.com, April 10, 2014
…But activists have highlighted article 28 of the bill as a concern. The provision would criminalize web content that “hinders the sovereignty and integrity of the Kingdom of Cambodia.” If this is not vague enough, the same provision penalizes any online publication that “generates insecurity, instability, and political cohesiveness.” What exactly is the crime of “political cohesiveness?”
Another criminal offense is the publication of Internet material that is deemed to be “non-factual which slanders or undermines the integrity of governmental agencies, ministries, not limited to departments, federal or local levels.” This would clearly discourage criticism of government officials.
As expected, publishing something that is deemed “damaging to the moral and cultural values of society” is prohibited. The bill even specified these harmful values: “Writings or pixilation that display inappropriate activities of persons, copulations between humans or animals; or devalue the moral of family values and pixilation that displays domestic violence…”

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Iraq lifts ban on Thai rice imports after suspension for “low quality”

Thai Rice Welcomed Back to Iraq After Months of Suspension – WSJ, April 10, 2014
…Prior to the ban in August, Iraq had imported 500,000 to 600,000 metric tons of Thai rice each year, making it one of the country’s major clients. The biggest importer of Thai rice is Nigeria, which brings in an average volume of 1.1 million tons per year…

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Waiting for the mango today…

From Manager, March 20, 2014
Left, caption: Waiting for the mango today…
[Referring to a theory of Dr. Theerayuth Boonmee on the current political situation. Dr. said that situation of the anti-government protesters, led by Suthep, is like waiting for a mango (or the caretaker government led by Yingluck Shinawatra) to be ripe and fall from its tree. This is because the Yingluck government is under threat from a long list of corruption scandals.]
Suthep Thuagsuban: When will it fall!?
Right, caption: …tomorrow may have to wait for Ma Ug! [Ma Ug, or Bolo Maka, is a kind of Thai fruit. The human head on the tree is Surapong Towichakchaikul, the caretaker foreign minister. He is nicknamed Ma Ug for his bald head. And the demonstrators may have to wait for him to fall next because he recently said that he's ready to replace Yingluck as premier.]
Suthep: When will it fall!?

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Bangkok bus routes to have one operator per route to stop drivers from racing against each other for passengers

BMTA bans bus-route competition – Bangkok Post, April 9, 2014

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Police warn that those who share Red Shirt leader’s anti-monarchy video will be charged with lese majeste

Ko Tee faces lese majeste arrest – Bangkok Post, April 10, 2014
…She added that the Royal Thai Police Office has warned the public not to share the video clip as those doing so will also be subject to punishment under Section 112. Those found guilty are liable for a three- to 15-year jail term….

Also: Suthep plays down ‘sovereignty’ claim

Earlier: Thaksin’s Lawyer accused of lese majeste for calling for amendment of lese majeste law

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Tourist’s shock at Buddhist temple in Thailand which has a mural of planes hitting the Twin Towers

‘Totally inappropriate’: Tourist’s shock at Buddhist temple in Thailand which has a mural of planes hitting the Twin Towers – Daily Mail, April 9, 2014
…The White Temple at Chiang Rai is the bizarre pet project of controversial Thai artist Chalermchai Kositpipat.
As well as depicting planes flying into the Twin Towers, the mural at Chiang Rai features fictional characters such as Spiderman and Harry Potter, celebrities like Michael Jackson, as well as fighter jets and spaceships…

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Bangkok’s Express Airport Rail Link will see the Phayathai station closed one year for maintenance

Bangkok’s Express Airport Rail Link will see the Phayathai station closed one year for maintenance – thephuketinsider.com, April 10, 2104

This seems to be the real story: Rail Link’s Phaya Thai Line suspended
The express Airport Rail Link service from Phaya Thai will be suspended for one year for maintenance from Monday, April 14, SRT Electrified Train Co (SRTET) has announced…

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Cambodia’s lost rock ’n’ roll scene

Cambodia’s lost rock ’n’ roll scene – aljazeera.com, April 9, 2014
…“The Rolling Stones, the Beatles and the Bee Gees were huge here,” says Touch Seang Tana. “We loved to listen to them.”
Until 1975, music thrived in Phnom Penh, with clubs full night after night, crowds gathering in the streets around transistor radios to hear the latest releases, and the biggest stars being feted by the king…

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Eyesight of a 90-year-old man

From Manager, March 18, 2014
Left, caption: Eyesight of a 90-year-old man [Reading the sign is Gen. Prem Tinsulanont, statesman and chairman of the privy council.]
Sign on the wall reads: Soldiers stand on noble honor for Thai people rely on us as their last reliance. Signed; Gen. Kris Sivara. [Gen. Kris was a military officer of the Royal Thai Army, a member of the Thai Cabinet, and Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army during the violent crackdown on democracy protesters on 14 October 1973. He was later promoted to Army Commander. The Army's Kris Sivara Camp in Sakon Nakhon province is named after him.]
Right, caption: Eyesight of a man who’s only 60 years old. [Reading the sign is Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, Commader of the Royal Thai Army.]
[Reference is to Gen. Prem's casual comment while reading the sign that the Army Commander should read the sign some time. His comment was made on March 14 when he inaugurated the Gen. Kris Statute at the camp.
This incident was taken as a sign to Prayuth to protect the nation from Red Shirt separatism and slurs against the monarchy.]

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It’s ok to be corrupt

From Manager, March 19, 2014
Caption: Old perception
Left: It’s ok to be corrupt… if you share some with us.
Caption: Today’s perception
Right: It’s ok to be corrupt and don’t share some with us as long as you give us a clue to win a lottery.
[Refers to license plates of caretaker PM Yingluck’s cars. The numbers become popular among gamblers when they turned up as winning number in the Thai lottery. It is alleged that the lottery was fixed to choose the numbers as a way to generate positive buzz for the prime minister.]

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Thaksin’s Lawyer accused of lese majeste for calling for amendment of lese majeste law

Thaksin’s Lawyer Denounces Lese Majeste Allegation – Khao Sod, April 8, 2014
…In the Skype call, Mr. Amsterdam urged the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to amend the Article 112 of the Criminal Codes, widely known as the “lese majeste” law, which prohibits any remark deemed critical of the monarchy.
He made no direct mention to the Thai Royal Family, but the Lawyers Council considers it a sufficient cause of insult for the monarchy, calling for the police to press charge of 112 Article against Mr. Amsterdam.
“It is the duty of the Royal Thai Police, the General Attorney, and the Ministry of Interior Affairs to proceed with this legal case,” the statement insisted.
An anti-government activist, Mr. Thaworn Senniam, has also filed a separate lese majeste complaint to the police against Mr. Amsterdam yesterday for his Skype remarks…

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Cambodia’s rice exports drop as demand from Thailand plummets following collapse of the country’s state-buying rice plan

Cambodia’s Rice Exports to Thailand Plummet – cambodiadaily.com, April 8, 2014
…Exports to Thailand for the first quarter of this year were virtually wiped out, falling from 13,000 tons in 2013 to 300 tons this year. Last year, Thailand was the sixth biggest importer of Cambodian rice, buying 23,550 tons…

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Thida, why did you resign as leader of the UDD?


From Manager, March 17, 2014
Thaksin: I don’t understand, Khun Thida. Why did you resign as leader of the UDD?
Thida: Because I’ve just bought a new Mercedes-Benz and I want to have a longer live to enjoy driving this car.
Jutuporn is on the stage surrounded by the Red-shirt supporters.
Caption: Fight for money… After rice, then quit a job!!
[Refers to the latest movement of the Red shirt known as the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD). Thida Thavornseth, a chairwoman of UDD, announced to resign from her post and hand it to Jatuporn Promphan. It is alleged that Thaksin supporters like Thida and Jatuporn have been allowed to reap huge benefits from government's rice pledging programs in return for their support of Thaksin's agenda.]

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Remembering the Thaksin Years: Littering in Thailand

From Thairath, February 15, 2003
Title: Gentleman… but having a malicious intention
On the box: Hazardous waste
Small sign boards: Don’t litter; Thailand.
[Refers to a number of e-waste containers were found in Klong Toei port in Bangkok during Thaksin’s time as PM. Those containers were imported into Thailand through local firms that left them at the port and then declared bankruptcy or become untraceable--all a way to make money for dumping garbage in Thailand. Most of those containers came from Britain.]

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New city plan ‘could ravage’ the verdant Bang Krachao

New city plan ‘could ravage’ the verdant Bang Krachao – The Nation, April 8, 2014
…The controversial 2013 version allows for buildings that don’t cover more than 15 per cent of the permitted area.
For the “pure green” area, the 2005 version allowed buildings that were not over 10 per cent of the permitted area. Landowners were also not allowed to sell their land, to stop housing estates being constructed.
But the 2013 version allows owners in the green area to sell their land for the construction of housing estates…

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