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  • Former Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra indicted for insulting monarchy

    Thaksin appears in court accused of lese-majeste relating to 2015 interview with South Korean media

    The former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, a powerful backer of the ruling government, has been formally indicted for allegedly insulting the monarchy almost two decades ago.

    One of Thailand’s most influential political figures, Thaksin, 74, appeared at Bangkok’s Ratchada criminal court accused of lese-majeste. The case relates to an interview he gave to South Korean media in 2015. He was granted bail on Tuesday.

    Thaksin was ousted by a military coup in 2006 and spent 15 years in self-imposed exile to avoid charges he said were politically motivated. He returned to Thailand last year, arriving back in the country on the same day his party Pheu Thai formed an unlikely coalition with his former enemies from the conservative military establishment – a deal that was in both sides’ interest because it kept a popular, youthful pro-reform party out of power.

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    18 June 18 2024
    Thailand
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/article/2024/jun/18/former-thai-pm-thaksin-shinawatra-indicted-alleged-insulting-monarchy
  • Thailand passes historic bill recognising marriage equality

    Country on track to become third in Asia – after Taiwan and Nepal – to legalise same-sex marriage

    Thailand’s senate has passed the final reading of a historic marriage equality bill, paving the way for the country to become the first in south-east Asia to recognise same-sex marriage.

    The bill gained the support of nearly all upper-house lawmakers and will be sent to the palace for endorsement by King Maha Vajiralongkorn. The law will come into force 120 days after it is published in the royal gazette.

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    18 June 18 2024
    Thailand
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/article/2024/jun/18/thailand-same-sex-marriage-equality-vote-bill-legislation
  • Thailand market fire kills more than 1,000 animals prompting calls for crackdown

    Animal welfare groups have called for better regulation of the sale of wildlife after a fire swept through the pet zone of one of Bangkok’s biggest markets

    Animal welfare experts have called for a crackdown on the sale of wildlife in Thailand, after a fire swept through the pet zone of Bangkok’s most famous outdoor market, killing more than 1,000 animals.

    Puppies, cats, fish, snakes, swans, cockatoos and rabbits kept inside cages were all reportedly killed in the blaze, which began early on Tuesday morning and burned through about 1,300 square metres of the Chatuchak Weekend Market.

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    12 June 12 2024
    Thailand
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/article/2024/jun/12/bangkok-thailand-chatuchak-weekend-market-fire-animals-killed-pet-zone-deaths
  • ‘You can’t fight your way to peace’: from a 20-year-old Israeli to a 99-year-old Briton, eight conscientious objectors on why they refused to serve in the army

    Military service for 18-year-olds is a key Tory election pledge in the UK. But in countries with conscription, opting out comes at a heavy cost – ostracisation, fines and time in prison


    Peter Hathorn,
    63, Cape Town, South Africa

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    8 June 08 2024
    Ethics
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/article/2024/jun/08/you-cant-fight-your-way-to-peace-from-a-20-year-old-israeli-to-a-99-year-old-briton-eight-conscientious-objectors-on-why-they-refused-to-serve-in-the-army
  • Thai island of Samui weighs ‘White Lotus effect’ against environmental cost

    There is unease about how to strike a balance between tourist numbers and the need to protect natural resources

    Along the beachfront on the Thai island of Samui, vendors are busy setting up tables covered with souvenirs and sunglasses. Staff stand outside massage shops and restaurants gesture to passersby, hoping to entice in tourists.

    Soon, there could be even more customers passing through the area. The island is one of several locations that will feature in the third season of The White Lotus, a series so popular that its previous settings, Hawaii and Sicily, both saw surges in demand from travellers.

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    1 June 01 2024
    Thailand
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/article/2024/jun/01/thai-island-samui-white-lotus-effect-tourism-environment
  • From Scythia to South Korea: a potted history of poo in warfare

    Suspected North Korean balloons carrying faeces are latest example of dung or human waste being used in conflict

    South Koreans faced a different type of retaliation this week when more than 150 white balloons were allegedly floated across the border by North Korea attached to bags of rubbish and faeces.

    It came after the North Korean defence vice-minister, Kim Kang-il, warned that Pyongyang would retaliate in response to anti-North Korean leaflets flown across the border in the opposite direction.

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    29 May 29 2024
    South Korea
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/article/2024/may/29/scythia-to-south-korea-potted-history-poo-warfare-north-korea
  • Faking it: counterfeit luxury fashion in south-east Asia – a photo essay

    As counterfeit fashion gets cool, the photographers Miguel Hahn and Jan-Christoph Hartung investigate the prevalence of luxury labels in south-east Asia, where high-end fashion blends with traditional and modern clothing

    In some countries in south-east Asia, including Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand, a distinctive street style has emerged, characterised by counterfeit luxury fashion. Here, many people sport counterfeits of labels such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Prada.

    Bangkok, Thailand

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    27 May 27 2024
    Fashion
    https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/article/2024/may/27/faking-it-counterfeit-luxury-fashion-in-south-east-asia-a-photo-essay
  • Australian in intensive care with severe spinal injury after ‘horrifying’ Singapore flight, husband says

    Kerry Davis was flung to ceiling when flight SQ321 hit turbulence before falling motionless to floor of plane

    An Australian woman suffered a spinal injury and has no sensation from her waist down after her flight to Singapore hit extreme turbulence earlier this week, as others onboard are treated for skull and brain injuries.

    The Boeing 777-300ER hit what an airline official described as “sudden extreme turbulence” over Myanmar, sending passengers and crew flying and slamming some into the ceiling. The flight, SQ321 from London to Singapore on Tuesday, made an emergency diversion to Bangkok.

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    24 May 24 2024
    Air transport
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/article/2024/may/24/australian-in-intensive-care-with-severe-spinal-injury-after-horrifying-singapore-flight-husband-says
  • Australian passenger on horror Singapore flight says airline has left him 'in limbo' – video

    Keith Davis, a passenger on the deadly Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 which was hit by severe turbulence, says he has been left 'totally in limbo' by the airline while his wife is treated for severe injuries in Thailand. 'She’s in ICU, needs a medivac,' he tells reporters at Samitivej Srinakarin hospital in Bangkok. A Singapore Airlines spokesperson said the airline had apologised to Davis and his wife, and were making arrangements for their family members to travel to Bangkok to be with them. 'Singapore Airlines apologises to Mr Keith Davis and his wife, and is providing them with the necessary support and assistance they need during this difficult time...We remain committed to supporting all passengers and crew members who were on board SQ321, as well as their family members and loved ones,' the spokesperson said. 

    Subscribe to Guardian Australia on YouTube

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    24 May 24 2024
    Singapore
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2024/may/24/australian-passenger-on-horror-singapore-flight-says-airline-has-left-him-in-limbo-video
  • Hospital details brain and spinal injuries after turbulence on Singapore flight

    Twenty people remain in intensive care in Bangkok, where plane landed on Tuesday following mid-air emergency

    Passengers and crew onboard a Singapore Airlines flight that hit extreme turbulence over Asia suffered skull, brain and spinal injuries, the head of a Bangkok hospital has said.

    Twenty people remain in intensive care in the Thai capital, where flight SQ321 made an emergency landing on Tuesday after the terrifying high-altitude ordeal.

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    23 May 23 2024
    Air transport
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/article/2024/may/23/passengers-suffer-brain-and-spinal-injuries-on-singapore-flight-hit-by-extreme-turbulence