State of the Land

PM erupts after questions about ‘cruel’ charter – The Nation, February 3, 2016

Longtime Political Cartoonist ‘Stephff’ Loses Work Permit & Visa – khaosodenglish.com, February 2, 2016

Defamation Suit Hits Veteran BBC Correspondent for Reports on Fraud – Khao Sod, February 7, 2016
…Head will not be in Phuket for the hearing and is publicly saying as little as possible. Fears include having his passport confiscated by the court if he is to be indicted and needing to seek bail – a move that could jeopardize the two-decade career of the veteran reporter who just finished his term as President of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand.
“I will not comment at this stage because I have not yet been indicted,” Head told Khaosod English by telephone…

Thailand projected to be the least miserable country in the world, again – asiancorrespondent.com, February 4, 2016
What do you get when you mash together a country’s unemployment rate and inflation? You get a snapshot of how ‘miserable’ it is – that’s the general idea behind Bloomberg’s so-called Misery Index…

Use of ‘dictator law’ rises in Thailand as junta’s reforms falter – Reuters, February 3, 2016
…Last month, activists decried orders to build 14 power plants across the country, despite health and environmental concerns.
Also last month, Prayuth used Article 44 to remove seven officials from a government health promotion foundation, initially citing suspected graft. But he later apologized, and dropped the suggestion of corruption, after doctors complained of interference…

Burning bridges: Police raid threatens ‘quality’ tourism – Bangkok Post, February 7, 2016
The police raid on elderly card players in Pattaya last week may have earned Thailand international ridicule, but it also looks set to cost the country money as hundreds of “bridge tourists” threaten to cancel their holiday plans…

Thai market vendors pelt police with rocks for cracking down on counterfeits – AP, February 3, 2016
Thai police were licking their wounds Wednesday after an enraged mob of vendors chased them away when they tried to seize fake goods at a famous border market.
The Department of Special Investigation said 12 officers were injured when police and French Embassy observers went to the Rong Kluea market on the border with Cambodia to seize items such as fake perfumes that violate intellectual property laws…

Obama takes heat for inviting Thai coup leader to California summit – Washington Times, February 3, 2016
…After a brief suspension of some programs and aid after the 2014 coup, the Pentagon will be taking part in this year’s 35th “Cobra Gold” military exercises with Thailand, a 10-day, 24-country gathering starting Feb. 9 that is one of the largest annual military exercises in the Asia-Pacific region.
While that exercise is proceeding, all 10 leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations — which includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam — will gather at Mr. Obama’s invitation for the Feb. 15-16 U.S.-ASEAN Summit at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, California…

The Staying Power of Thailand’s Military – The Diplomat, February 10, 2016
…To understand the present and project into the future, it’s important to understand Thailand’s recent past. The 2014 military coup marked the crescendo of anti-government street convulsions, staged initially against an amnesty bill that would have paved the way for the criminally convicted self-exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to return to Thailand a free man under his younger sister Yingluck Shinawatra’s elected government.
Those protests later morphed into broad, if not vague, calls for cleaner governance, an end to corruption and an overhaul of democratic politics. The street protest-enabled coup, rather than an answer to a popular reform call, was clearly orchestrated by royalist elites to ensure that top generals, rather than squabbling politicians, are in control at the time of what many view will be a delicate royal succession…

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