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Month: January 2012 (Page 1 of 2)

Thammasat Bans Lèse-majesté-Related Gatherings on Campus

Today’s Bangkok Post reports:

Thammasat University has banned the use of the university’s compound as a venue for any activities related to the lese majeste law.

The move came amid growing public discontent against the Nitirat group, comprising seven Thammasat law lecturers, which has proposed an amendment to Section 112 of the Criminal Code, better known as the lese majeste law, and a rewrite of Chapter 2 of the constitution, which covers the monarchy.

Since its establishment in September 2010, Nitirat’s activities have mainly been held at Thammasat’s Tha Phrachan campus in Phra Nakhon district.

“The university’s executive committee has resolved unanimously to prohibit the use of the university’s premises for any movement related to Section 112,” Thammasat rector Somkit Lertpaithoon wrote in a message posted on his Facebook page yesterday.

Allowing such activities to take place on the university’s grounds could lead the public to mistakenly believe that Thammasat organises or agrees with the movement, he said.

“Moreover, it could trigger violent confrontations on the premises,” he said.

The Nation has more.

(All emphasis mine.)

Thailand Government and Twitter Censorship

The AP reports today:

Thailand is welcoming Twitter’s new policy to censor tweets in specific nations where the content might break laws.

Technology minister Anudith Nakornthap said Monday the new policy was a “constructive” development. The Southeast Asian country routinely blocks websites with content deemed offensive to the Thai monarchy.

Jon Russell has more at The Next Web:

Twitter’s controversial move towards enabling the censorsing of tweets has gained the backing of its first international government, after authorities in Thailand publicly endorsed the introduction.

And The Bangkok Post ran a story on the news today.

More to come on this topic, I’m sure.

(All emphasis mine.)

Fashion Commentary from Yingluck’s India Visit

2012 01 26 yingluck india fashion

And now for something completely different…

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, as you may know, is visiting India.

While the trip has geopolitical implications — especially for India — a couple of stories in the Indian media on an altogether different topic have caught my eye.

India’s Mail Online has run two dispatches — so far — on Yingluck’s sartorial choices. They’re here and here.

The most recent story, from today, is headlined “Thailand’s Prime Minister scales down glam quotient.” It begins:

Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra continued with her demure dressing style on Wednesday, the second day of her visit to India.

Already having received a lot of attention for her fashion choices and immaculate hair and make-up abroad, especially on diplomatic tours like this one – her dressing style was recently discussed in the Indonesian Parliament, making her blush profusely – Shinawatra has decidedly been low-key on her fashion quotient on this visit.

We saw a dash of glamour during her meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh early in the day – Shinawatra was dressed in a knee-length black skirt teamed with a dull ivory gold doublebreasted jacket. But she was quick to get into a boring pantsuit for her trip to Agra later in the day.

(All emphasis mine.)

(Image: Reuters/Mail Online.)

Thailand’s New 50 Baht Note

For what it’s worth: There’s a new 50 baht note in town.

Here’s a snap of one I came across recently in the wild:

2012 01 25 new 50 baht note

For reference, here’s what the old bill looked like:

2012 01 25 thai 50 baht old

According to this Jan. 12 press release (link is a PDF file) from the Bank of Thailand (BOT), new versions of the rest of Thailand’s denominations will be introduced later.

The BOT release says the new 50 baht note has “new advanced counterfeit deterrent features” such as a watermark, security thread, and more.

And the bill has “tactile marks” that “represent the Braille number 5…” to assist the visually impaired.

There’s more from the Phuket Gazette and the new-to-me Banknote News.

8 Links

Some Thailand-related, some not:

  1. Southern Farmers Vanquish the ClichésThe New York Times
  2. Marginal revolutionaries: The crisis and the blogosphere have opened mainstream economics up to new attackThe Economist
  3. New, darker portrait of legendary American — AP on a new book
    about Jim Thompson by Joshua Kurlantzick
  4. Once Hidden by Forest, Carvings in Land Attest to Amazon’s Lost WorldThe New York Times
  5. Do Sports Build Character or Damage It?The Chronicle of Higher Education
  6. Everything you need to know about buying a camera — The Verge
  7. Exercise Hormone May Fight Obesity and DiabetesThe New York Times‘s Well Blog
  8. Video embedded above and on YouTube here: “BBC Earthflight — Common Cranes Fly Over Venice (Narrated by David Tennant).”

Two Economics-Related Stories Worth Reading: the iPhone Economy and the Emergence of Dual Gilded Ages

Two economics-related stories I suggest checking out:

1) This New York Times story by Charles Duhigg and Keith Bradsher, which was the toast of Twitter yesterday, is worth a read.

It’s called “How the U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work.”

You’re probably familiar with many of the concepts here — higher labor costs and fewer engineers in the U.S., China’s nimble and powerful manufacturing capacity and supply chain integration, etc. — but this piece weaves things together quite nicely.

2) This piece, by Chrystia Freeland, was in the print edition of today’s IHT.

It’s a look at the ideas behind economist Jim O’Neill’s new book, “The Growth Map: Economic Opportunity in the BRICs and Beyond.”

As Freeland writes:

In the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution and the opening of the American frontier created the Gilded Age and the robber barons who ruled it. Today, as the world economy is being reshaped by the technology revolution and globalization, the resulting economic transformation is creating a new gilded age and a new plutocracy.

The two forces are intricately related. Indeed we are living through slightly different gilded ages that are unfolding simultaneously. The West is experiencing a second gilded age, while the emerging markets, as Mr. O’Neill and others have documented, are experiencing their first gilded age.

(Emphasis mine.)

NY Times on Thailand’s Supply Chain Issues Following Floods

A recent New York Times story says:

KHLONG LUANG, Thailand — The floodwaters receded weeks ago from this sprawling industrial zone, but the streets are littered with detritus, the phones do not work and rusted machinery has been dumped outside warehouses that once buzzed with efficiency.

Before Thailand’s great flood of 2011, companies like Panasonic, JVC and Hitachi produced electronics and computer components that were exported around the world. Now of the 227 factories operating in the zone, only 15 percent have restarted production, according to Nipit Arunvongse Na Ayudhya, the managing director of the company that manages the Nava Nakorn industrial zone, one of the largest in Thailand and located just north of Bangkok.

“The recovery has not been that easy,” Mr. Nipit said in an interview Friday on the sidelines of a meeting where he sought to soothe anxious foreign factory managers.

The slow recovery here is having global consequences. Before the floods, Thailand produced about 40 percent to 45 percent of the world’s hard disk drives, the invaluable and ubiquitous storage devices of the digital age. It is now becoming clear that it will be months — significantly longer than initially expected — before production of hard drives returns to antediluvian levels.

(Emphasis mine.)

Worth a read.

STRATFOR: “A Hezbollah Threat in Thailand?”

Global intelligence firm STRATFOR has this report:

On Jan. 12, Thai authorities arrested a man they say was a member of the Lebanon-based Shiite militant group Hezbollah who was plotting an attack in Bangkok. In uncovering the plot, Thai police cite cooperation with the United States and Israel going back to December 2011. Bangkok is indeed a target-rich environment with a history of terrorist attacks, but today Hezbollah and other militant and criminal groups rely on the city as more of a business hub than anything else. If Hezbollah or some other transnational militant group were to carry out an attack in the city, it would have to be for a compelling reason that outweighed the costs.

(Emphasis mine.)

Details on Thailand Cabinet Reshuffle from AP

The AP reports:

A firebrand ‘Red Shirt’ leader charged with terrorism over the movement’s 2010 protests was appointed Wednesday to Thailand’s Cabinet, and a second appointee is a businesswoman blacklisted from certain U.S. financial transactions.

Worth a read.

TIME: “Vague Terrorism Alert, Arrests Put Bangkok on Edge”

TIME has this story, which sums up the situation:

Last Friday, just hours after the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok warned on its website of a “possible terrorist threat” in tourist areas of the Thai capital, Thai security officials arrested a Lebanese man suspected of being a member of Hizballah, the Iranian-backed militant group. After three days of interrogations, police seized more than 4,000 kg of bombmaking materials from the townhouse he rented in a Bangkok suburb. But instead of receiving praise their police work, Thailand’s government and security officials are being roundly criticized.

The scorn-filled and suspicious responses are the result of mistrust of the U.S., concern over lost tourism earnings, and the conflicting statements and shifting narrative of events by various government officials, all of whom are insisting tourists and locals have nothing to fear because they have the situation “under control.” As an editorial in the English-language Nation newspaper opined, “In Thailand we have a long history of politicians telling us half-truths and lies, especially when it comes to security matters. And so when they tell us to be calm because everything is under control, we have good reason not to trust them.” Ten nations aside from the U.S. have now issued terrorism alerts about Thailand to their citizens.

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