Thai Satellite Company Stops Carrying Hizbullah TV

Thai Satellite Company Stops Carrying Hizbullah TV - The Media Line, January 13, 2008
…"Al-Manar is Hizbullah’s main communication tool, through which it spreads anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic, and anti-American incitement," said Dr. Reuven Erlich, who heads the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC) in Herzliya, Israel.
Erlich called their carrying of these broadcasts "an outrage," adding that the Thai satellite significantly boosted the resonance of Al-Manar’s propaganda messages around the world, since the satellite covers Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East, and most of Europe…

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Barrow child porn suspect vows Thai return

Barrow child porn suspect vows Thai returnic Newcastle, January 13, 2008

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Police watch Thai Studies Conference

Police watch Thai Studies Conference - FACT, January 13, 2008

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With so many Britons murdered in Thailand, why does our Government not warn of the dangers faced there?

With so many Britons murdered in Thailand, why does our Government not warn of the dangers faced there? - Independent, January 12, 2008

…Yet what also emerges from the death of Charnaud and many others is the fact that Thailand, despite its popularity with the British, is among the most dangerous places in the world for UK visitors – a fact that the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has been reluctant to publicise…

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Electoral corruption must be considered without bias

Electoral corruption must be considered without bias
translated and summarized from Thai Rath, January 12, 2008
The Chairman of the Election Commission has for the first time expressed his concerns over the issue of whether the Deputy Leader of the People Power Party  – Yongyut Tiyapairat (a party-list parliamentary candidate) – should receive a ‘red card’ for electoral infringements.
The Constitution and its associated laws both fail to spell out what should be done if a party-list parliamentary candidate receives a ‘red’ card. Even the Electoral Commission itself does not know what should be done in this case.
The conundrum is as to whether a political party should be disbanded if a ‘red’ card is awarded to its deputy leader. But electoral law does apparently stipulate that a party should be disbanded if one of its members is involved in corrupt electoral practice.The Election Commission must consider this matter very carefully, with strict regard to the Constitution, if it is to avoid being blamed over this vital decision.

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Shanghai protests over maglev line

Shanghai protests over maglev line - CNN, January, 2008
[Thanks to Don for pointing this out.]
…"City planning and environmental departments are very cautious and take very seriously these concerns," the statement said, urging the public not to "disrupt social stability."
It was the second time in two years that the high-profile, costly German-made maglev has generated protests in Shanghai, China’s commercial capital. And the government’s response underscores how delicately authorities must tread in the face of Chinese who want a say in protecting the homes, jobs and other goods their rising living standards have afforded.
In June, thousands of protesters massed on the streets of another prosperous Chinese port city, Xiamen, forcing the government to delay construction of a $1.4 billion chemical plant. Like the Shanghai protesters this weekend, the Xiamen demonstrators organized by mobile phone text messages and put photos and video of the marches on the Internet…

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Stature of Liberty and Mickey


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Stature of Liberty and Mickey -
January 12, 2008
An odd display in Central World in Bangkok.

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“Because I love…”


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

"Because I love…" - January 12, 2008
It reads: Because I love, may I check for alcohol first, please? Please think before you start.

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For the Princess


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

For the Princess - January 12, 2008
It reads: We respectfully pay homage to the Princess –
May you rest in peace in paradise – By people in Din Dang – Din Dang Office and Dr. Aphichart Halamjiak

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The return of Pojaman

Above: "I come home because I am of thinking of my children." Huddled around her are various PPP/TRT politicians. (from Manager, Na Ban Bangkae, by Bancha, January 11, 2008)

The return of Pojaman - January 12, 2008

Below: Pojaman as puppet (from Arun, Krungtepturakit, January 10, 2008)

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Protecting good people

Protecting good people – translated and summarized from Thai Rath, January 11, 2008
The public is becoming highly critical of the sad fact that most government officials currently appear to be in ‘neutral gear’, and not eager to complete many of their allotted tasks – but rather to await the arrival in office of the next government. There is, however, one government official who is still devoted to his job.
Kasem Wattanatham is the person thus described, and he is currently wearing two hats: one as the Deputy Governor of Buriram Province and the other as the President of the Buriram Provincial Electoral Commission.
As the Deputy Governor, Kasem plays a significant role in the investigation of the illegal possession of public land in the province. It is a job that few relish, as it involves the interrogation of powerful individuals who are widely-feared.
As President of the Buriram Electoral Commission, Kasem was involved in the investigation of corrupt practices in the recent general election in which the National Electoral Commission awarded ‘red’ cards to three People Power Party parliamentary candidates standing for constituencies in the province.
A normal man would probably not be prepared to undertake such onerous tasks, for fear that the consequences of his actions might impact on his career path.
Kasem has said, however, that the realization that he is working for HRH the King has made him far more daring in his pursuit of the ‘right action’ than might normally be the case. He has also posed the question as to how ordinary people can survive with integrity if government administrators are too cowardly to tackle such criminality.
Kasem is devoted to his job and fears nothing. Indeed, he is that rare phenomenon today: a highly-respectable individual. It is only right that Thai people should support and protect such a good person.

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CASBAA Releases Thailand in View

CASBAA Releases Thailand in View - January, 2008
…According to the report, Thailand’s pay-TV penetration remains relatively low compared with other Asian markets, with just 14.3% of 18.7 million Thai TV households.
…There is also room for significant pay-TV advertising growth. As of now, the Thai government has only given tacit approval for pass-through, non domestic pay-TV advertising, while privately owned pay-TV operators at this time cannot carry any domestic advertising at all, which has suppressed the willingness of industry players to further invest in this sector. The industry hopes that recently-passed broadcasting legislation will unambiguously pave the way for lifting the advertising ban…

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Still life with Apple knockoffs: Thailand

Still life with Apple knockoffs: Thailand - January, 2008

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Indians hit the road amid elephants

Indians hit the road amid elephants - NYT, January 11, 2008
Thanks to Danny for pointing this out.

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Protecting good people

Protecting good people -
translated and summarized from Thai Rath, January 11, 2008
The public is becoming highly-critical of the sad fact that most government officials currently appear to be in ‘neutral gear’, and not eager to complete many of their allotted tasks – but rather to await the arrival in office of the next government. There is, however, one government official who is still devoted to his job.
Kasem Wattanatham is the person thus described, and he is currently wearing two ‘hats’: One as the Deputy Governor of Buriram Province, and the other as the President of the Buriram Provincial Electoral Commission.
As the Deputy Governor, Kasem plays a significant role in the investigation of the illegal possession of public land in the province. It’s a job that few relish, as it involves the interrogation of powerful individuals who are widely-feared.
As President of the Buriram Electoral Commission, Kasem was involved in the investigation of corrupt practices in the recent general election – in which the National Electoral Commission awarded ‘red’ cards to three People Power Party parliamentary candidates standing for constituencies in the province.
A normal man would probably not be prepared to undertake such onerous tasks, for fear that the consequences of his actions might impact on his career path.
Kasem has said, however, that the realization that he is working for HRH the King has made him far more daring in his pursuit of the ‘right action’ than might normally be the case. He has also posed the question as to how ordinary people can survive with integrity if government administrators are too cowardly to tackle such criminality.
Kasem is devoted to his job, and fears nothing. Indeed, he is that rare phenomenon today: a highly-respectable individual. It is only right that Thai people should support and protect such a good person.

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Vietnam has 7 universities in Southeast Asia’s top 100

Vietnam has 7 universities in Southeast Asia’s top 100Xinhua, January 11, 2008

Vietnam has seven universities in the top 100 in Southeast Asia, as ranked by Webometrics, a Spanish ranking system of world universities…

Here’s the full list for Asia. Top in Thailand is Kasetsart University which ranks just above Chulalongkorn University.

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Four global giants vie to supply nuclear plants to Thailand

Four global giants vie to supply nuclear plants to Thailand - Bangkok Post, January 11, 2008

…Toshiba and Mitsubishi from Japan, Areva from France and General Electric from the US have each contacted the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) about submitting proposals to build a new nuclear plant.
Thailand hopes to have four nuclear plants, each costing at least $1 billion, in operation by 2020-21. Vietnam and Indonesia are expected to have nuclear plants operational by the same time…

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Burma’s long-neck women struggle to break out of Thailand’s ‘human zoo’

Burma’s long-neck women struggle to break out of Thailand’s ‘human zoo’The Age, January 11, 2008
[Thanks to Stuart for pointing this out.]
…Now 23, her neck is bare, the rings stripped off in anger after provincial authorities in Mae Hong Son, in northern Thailand, refused to let her emigrate to New Zealand, concerned about the negative impact on tourism of an exodus of long-neck women…

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Black Saturday in Karenni refugee camp

Black Saturday in Karenni refugee campMizzima,
January 11, 2008

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Community Radio 2002-2008

Also: ‘A tale of two newspapers’ archives

THAILAND: Police raid community radio station and confiscate equipment - Asian Human Rights Commission, October 17, 2008

Interference mars community radio - Asia Media Forum, January 11, 2008
[This is an interesting article that nevertheless obscures the recent history of community radio. It was the Thaksin governments that refused to create the National Broadcasting Commission and actively battled to shut down community radio stations.
]

A tale of two newspapers: Closing community radio III – June 1, 2005
The gulf between the Post and Nation could not be wider. The Nation article invokes the Prem era and the May 1992 revolt while the Post reports paid advertising is the cause of stations "breaching telecom regulations."

Community-radio crackdown pannedThe Nation, June 1, 2005

Community radio broadcasters and activists yesterday accused the Thaksin government of trying to silence dissident voices by cracking down on the often feisty medium.
Anchalee Paireerak, a high-profile community radio broadcaster based in Bangkok who has been raided by police several times over the past few months, said freedom of expression was facing its gravest threat since the end of the Prem Tinsula-nonda administration in the late 1980s…
Anusorn said the state should understand and respect the fact that the need to safeguard the independence of community radio stations, and keep them free of political and commercial interests, was a result of the May 1992 revolt, when state-controlled radio and television lied to the people.
Democrat MP Apichart Sakdisaet said the government’s claim about community radio signals interfering with flight communications had to be substantiated and supporting publicly.
“It must not be used as a pretext for a hidden agenda,” he said, adding that those stations being prosecuted appeared to be those that were critical of the government.

Abuse blamed on regulationBangkok Post, June 1, 2005

The Public Relations Department is being urged to revoke a regulation that allows community radio stations to broadcast announcements.
The directive is being pinpointed as the root cause of problems involving community radio stations, several of which are breaching telecom regulations.
It allows community radio stations to air announcements for six minutes an hour. But the regulation also seems to have been misused to air paid advertisements, which explains the sudden boom in community radio stations…
Ms Anchalee said certain politicians and PRD officials have vested interests in the community radio sector.
Supinya Klangnarong, a media reform advocate, called on the government to set up an independent panel to resolve the dispute.

Radio spat only hurts the publicBangkok Post, May 25, 2005
[Can the Bangkok Post write an editorial about the community radio controversy and not mention the controversy itself? Yes. The Post editorial tries to misrepresent and redefine the controversy. Their explanation of the controversy is that the government "attracted much criticism by its campaign to impose order on community radio stations." The actual charge--widely reported in the Thai and international press over the past three years--is that the government is attempting to close stations that broadcast anti-government views and has delayed setting up the NBC.]
…At the heart of the ongoing controversy are the complaints by operators, some members of the Senate and non-government organisations, over the government’s efforts to exert its control over the new airwaves. While their concern is valid, those in the community radio business and media freedom advocates will have to admit the rot which has begun to develop within the local radio communities has provided a logical excuse for state interference.
…It would not be an exaggeration to say the problem has now developed to a point that the new broadcasts have become more of an additional airwave pollution than an alternative source of information to the highly commercialised mainstream radio.
…The government has attracted much criticism by its campaign to impose order on community radio stations. But it can do the public a favour and repair the damage to its reputation by helping identify rogue radio operators and getting rid of those who seek profits under the guise of community radio service providers.

A tale of two newspapers: Closing community radio II - May 21, 2005
The Post article has 15 paragraphs explaining the government’s reason for closing community radio stations before mentioning the allegations that the government targets stations that criticize it. It also adds a police denial that officers attempted to search the station in the TPI building. The Nation mentions the allegations in the second paragraph and restates the charges that police attempted to search the station.

Govt puts the heat on local radio – Warning: Play by the rules or be shut downBangkok Post, May 19, 2005

…Pol Maj-Gen Kosin said an official of the Public Relations Department told him the station’s powerful transmitter and high antenna caused interference. He then asked his staff to warn the station "gently".
Pol Maj-Gen Kosin denied his officers harassed anyone. He admitted police had no authority to take the action because the authority rested with the NBC but he said a gentle request for cooperation should be acceptable.
He denied a report that two policemen had tried to search the radio station at the TPI building on Narathiwat Rachanakarin road. However, the Senate committee decided to ask the police force to investigate…

COMMUNITY RADIO: PRD orders closure of stations over legal limitThe Nation, May 19 , 2005

…Radio FM 92.25 accused police of intimidation after two officers attempted to gain entry to the third floor of the TPI building, where the station is located, on Wednesday. Metropolitan Police Bureau 5 commissioner Maj-General Kosin Hinthao, who was accused of ordering Thung Mahamek police to search the TPI building, defended himself to the House committee on social development and human security against the allegation.
…He said police had no intention of intimidating the station, but he had received a complaint from a PRD official that the station was disrupting other frequencies…


Also:
Broadcaster plans all-out govt attackThe Nation, May 21, 2005
A community radio station critical of the prime minister has announced plans to retaliate against a government threat to shut it down by broadcasting its anti-government programmes through other community radio stations around the country…

Also:
Listen to FM 92.25’s broadcasts

A tale of two newspapers: Closing community radio

The Post has a just-the-facts article with the government side, saying radio stations were being closed "for causing trouble for air traffic radio" by transmitting at higher power levels than allowed. The FM 92.25 controversy is pushed to the end of the article and reported as a separate incident and a disagreement between presenters.
The Nation has an entirely different story about the government closing community radio stations to stifle criticism along with a veiled threat by a "high-ranking police official." The Nation then has quotes from senators who are going to call police before them to explain these actions and gleefully points out that stations owned by Yaowapa Wongsawat, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s sister, are not being shut down.

17 community radio stations told to closeBangkok Post, May 18, 2005

The National Telecommunications Commission ordered 17 community radio stations closed yesterday, saying they interfered with other radio stations and air traffic controllers.
Apichart Sakdiset, spokesman of the House committee on telecommunications, quoted the NTC as reporting that it had closed 17 community radio stations for interference. Of the stations, seven frequently interfered with air traffic radio, and the Aeronautical Radio of Thailand Co had complained.
…The move came four days after Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office Suranand Vejjajiva vowed to crack down on community radio stations for causing trouble for air traffic radio.
…Meanwhile, Smarn Sri-ngarm, a programme host of the FM 92.25 community radio station, complained that two policemen attempted to search the office of the radio station yesterday but security guards stopped them.
He said that no one could stop him from discussing stories in the public interest such as state enterprise privatisation because the public had the right to know.
…Miss Anchalee said a listener told her that Mr Sorayut raised a photograph of the TPI building in his TV programme yesterday morning and indicated that a former journalist who worked at a community radio station there was hired to attack the government.

COMMUNITY RADIO : Police muscle in on critical stationThe Nation, May 18 , 2005

A community radio station yesterday accused police of intimidation after the two officers tried to search the TPI Building, where the station is located.
…She said police were attempting to put pressure on her team and scare them. Earlier, a high-ranking police official called her to say she should take care of her staff.
"This is not right and not fair,” she said.
Senator Nirand Pithakwatchara, who chairs the House committee on social development and human security, said he would summon Metropolitan Police Bureau 5 commissioner Maj-General Kosin Hinthao, who has jurisdiction over Thung Mahamek police station.
… "The government cannot take action against this station for being critical of the administration. If it’s going to cite those directives, then it has to shut down the other local community stations, which are owned by those with ties to the prime minister," Nirand said.
…Meanwhile, the government was accused of discrimination yesterday for closing seven community radio stations and planning to close another 10, including ones critical of the government. The House communications and telecommunications committee yesterday summoned PM’s Office Minister Suranand Vejjajiva to explain why the seven community radio stations had been shut down.
… The 17 did not include stations belonging to Traffic Corner, owned by the daughter of Yaowapa Wongsawat, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s sister…

Community radioBangkok Post, May 8, 2003
And only recently, a compromise seemed at hand. Following grassroots appeals, the Public Relations Department had invited civic leaders to draft temporary measures governing community radio in the absence of relevant organic laws. Their proposal was approved, but the state PR machine then did not table it for cabinet consideration. Instead, it tabled its own draconian version, which places community radio to be under Tambon Administration Organisations.It’s common knowledge that the TAOs are dominated by the local mafia, who go on to become local politicians and canvassers with links to national policymakers. We can foresee how community radio will end up a tool to tighten their grip on power instead of being the voice of the civic sector.

Community radio gets interim frequenciesBangkok Post, March 31, 2003

COMMUNITY RADIO GIFT: TRT ‘plans to rule airwaves’
The Nation, December 20, 2002
This is the latest in an interesting and long-running story.

Unlicensed community radio stations will be shut down
, Post: No broadcasters could operate legally without a licence from the National Broadcasting Commission, which was yet to be established, Mr Visanu said… The constitution guarantees freedom of the media and specifically frees the airwaves for public use, but two bureaucratic agencies must be established first. The National Broadcasting Commission would decide who can broadcast and the National Telecommunications Commission would distribute frequencies.

Broadcasters fight govt bids to silence themThe Nation, October 11, 2002
The gathering included operators of some 50 stations that currently broadcast to listeners in their own communities – in spite of government legal threats.

Here’s an earlier, more in-depth article: MEDIA-THAILAND: Struggle for Airwaves Still OnThe Irrawaddy, June 19, 2002
Some stations broadcast to as few as 100 homes, although the government is trying to stop this. Initially the government supported these small-scale broadcasts: People began to use the community slots to air grievances about local services and government policies on live phone-in shows, often forcing officials to answer embarrassing questions and respond to the issues raised… The government started to get uneasy about this trend and began curtailing community involvement at its stations, eventually resulting in the PRD calling off the project in mid-2000…. On the one hand, the constitution protects their rights to run community stations, but on the other the government, which owns and controls the nation’s 500 radio frequencies, had cut off what seemed their only access to the airwaves. An excellent read…

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Q&A: Opening times of the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok on weekend

Q&A: Opening times of the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok on weekends – January 10, 2008
Proof that that no amount of internet technology will improve things if someone is not willing to answer a question.

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The Cyber World fire

The Cyber World fire - January 10, 2008
All the best photos from SkyscraperCity
Rental info for the project
On the forum: Ratchada’s Towering Inferno

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Brutal killing of (citizen journalist) Wei Wenhua underscores the evils of China’s urban management system

Brutal killing of (citizen journalist) Wei Wenhua underscores the evils of China’s urban management system - CMP, January, 2008

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More details: Officer says shooting victims attacked him

More details: Officer says shooting victims attacked him - Calgary Herald, January 10, 2008
A thread on this is here.

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Princess: Outsiders’ views useful

Princess: Outsiders’ views useful - Bangkok Post, January 10, 2008

Earlier: On the forum: More on the Thammasat Thai Studies discussion on the Monarchy
Earlier: In the program of talks, the link to the abstract to the Paul Handley book discussion does not work, but the abstract is at the bottom of this document on the conference site.
Earlier: Groundbreaking monarchy debate defies traditional Thai deference – DPA, January 8, 2008
Earlier: And here’s the program of talks

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New requirements for marriage visas

New requirements for marriage visas - January 10, 2008
Don reports: (We) paid our annual visit to Immigration this morning, to renew my annual visa. There is a new requirement now: We must submit four (4) photos of our residence, with both of us in all four photos. One photo must be of us standing outside the building, with it in the background. The other three must be of us in different locations inside the residence. No mention was made of photo size, but the samples on the desk were rather large. Today is Thursday; I have four days, until next Monday, to submit the photos or else the visa-extension request will be canceled. We saw several people coming in dropping off photos with the officials and wondered what that was all about until the officer explained it to us. So be warned…
Also, we had to draw a map to out place. I believe that was another first.

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Minor damage at Cyber World

Minor damage at Cyber World - Bangkok Post, January 10, 2008

…The executive said the fire damaged foil covering the aluminium sheeting on the building’s exterior, as well as damaging some sheeting and windows, but there was no damage to the interior or any structure…

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95% of Songkhla small, medium-sized fishing operators out of business

95% of Songkhla small, medium-sized fishing operators out of business - The Nation, January 10, 2008

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Siam or Thailand: What’s in a name?

Siam or Thailand: What’s in a name? - Bangkok Post, January 10, 2008

…Contemporary observers also pointed out that the change of name was not simply a rejection of a name that had been imposed by foreigners, it was at the same time a preparation for the Thai to assume a leading role among all Thai peoples.
The former British ambassador Sir Josiah Crosby also clearly identified the underlying reason why Phibun’s government decided to change the word Siam to Thailand. Crosby stated: ”The fact that the official change of nomenclature should have been made in coincidence with the launching of the Pan-Thai movement may be interpreted not unfairly as the indication of a desire to familiarise outsiders with the claim of Siam to be regarded as the mother-country of all peoples of Thai race.”
Typical for the thinking of the 1930s and early ’40s, it did not occur to the proponents of a larger united land of all Thai peoples to ask themselves whether or not the peoples speaking related languages were interested in joining such a new venture, nor whether they were willing to accept Bangkok’s rule.

Nevertheless, a growing number of Thais could be forgiven for dreaming of a much larger country, one including northern Burma, parts of southern China, Laos, large parts of Indochina and major extensions on the Malay Peninsula.
The dream of more than doubling their territory, at first a murmur with the weakening of the colonial powers and China, became a distinct possibility, a scenario whereby a subtle, clever leadership should be quick to act when opportunity would present itself.
Premier Phibun was just the man for this difficult task, a master at playing off _ telling the British the Thais would remain neutral at all costs while at the same time secretly manoeuvring towards a pact with the Japanese.

…Should a Thai government ever wish to indicate the beginning of a new era, it could hardly find a more effective symbol than a re-investiture of the old name.

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Thai cop on duty despite charge of killing Canadian

Thai cop on duty despite charge of killing CanadianReuters, January 10, 2008

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