Highlights of the week

Prayut and Palang Pracharat: A marriage waiting to happen

Strategically speaking, there’s a huge difference between Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha being in the Palang Pracharat Party’s list of prime ministerial candidates and him waiting for a parliamentary “invitation” to…

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How long will Chaturon last on center stage?

In politics, there are names that carry with them “good images”. In the end, something is often found lacking and the “good images” can only go so far, and then…

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Despite apparent optimism, Palang Pracharat faces daunting realities

When a political party has a caucus or launching ceremony, optimism prevails without fail. That optimism can be justified or misguided, which is why Palang Pracharat, a pro–Prayut party that…

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Now, the hard part for Abhisit

I don’t like Thaksin Shinawatra, so which party should I vote for — Democrat or Palang Pracharat? It’s the answer to this question that will determine the future of Thailand’s…

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The pros and cons of Pheu Thai’s “satellite” strategy

On the one hand, it is brilliant for Pheu Thai to “branch out” in a bid to get more House of Representatives seats under the new electoral rules.  “Associates” of…

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Dust settling down in Thailand’s political “Games of Thrones”

The political boundaries are getting clearer ahead of next year’s election, expected in February. Three camps will be competing in a mathematically sensitive race for power — the pro-Prayut alliance,…

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“Iron Lady” is off the blocks, again…but will she make it?

Sudarat Keyuraphan had always been tipped to become Thailand’s first female prime minister, until Yingluck Shinawatra came along. Now, the veteran politician would have to contend with being “second”, if…

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Democrat “primary” will be more than just a political ritual

What was supposed to be Abhisit Vejjajiva’s stroll to a new term as the Democrat leader has apparently changed. Whispers within Thailand’s oldest political camp have it that chances for…

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China’s President Xi Jinping shakes hands with Myanmar’s State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi as they attend the welcome ceremony at Yanqi Lake during the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on May 15, 2017

“Debt trap” alert arises in Myanmar as more “Belt and Road” projects scrapped

YANGON (The Irrawaddy)  — Pakistan has recently halted agreements reached under China’s Belt and Road Initiative, including the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor seeking to connect Asia and Europe along the same route…

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Democratic Transition in Myanmar ‘at standstill’: UN Rights Panel

GENEVA (Reuters)  — Myanmar’s democratic transition has ground to a standstill as authorities seek to silence critics while allowing hate speech, particularly against Muslim Rohingya, the head of the UN human…

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9/11: The ghost that refuses to go away

This year’s anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America is marked by increasing confidence of so–called “conspiracy theorists”, who insist that the official story cannot be true, and growing…

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A look behind first caning of  LGBT persons  in Terengganu, Malaysia

Two women were caned in front of an audience in a Malaysian court for trying to have sex early this week.  The caning drew condemnation from human rights groups and calls…

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Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are led away by police after being convicted and sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment for violating the Official Secrets Act at Inn Sein Court in Yangon on Monday. Photo from The Irrawaddy

Reuters reporters’ sentencing, as it unfolded in the courtroom

YANGON (The Irrawaddy)  — For possessing the phone number of an officer in an ethnic armed group, the itineraries of visits to Rakhine by Pope Francis and Vice President U Myint…

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Facebook ban deepens distrust between Myanmar military, government

Yangon (The Irrawaddy News) — The already growing mistrust between the civilian administration and the powerful military leadership has been suddenly aggravated by social media giant Facebook’s decision to ban…

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A three-horse race for the next election?

In just a few more weeks, Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan–o–cha will make known his political future.  Many may wonder why Gen Prayut needs to wait until September to unveil…

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Is Thaksin putting another nail in Pheu Thai’s coffin?

Thaksin Shinawatra’s latest outburst against the Thai military government may come back to haunt him big time. His statements, which sought to uplift Pheu Thai politicians, could be deemed to…

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Election in February? Debate over election inspectors raises more doubts

By Thai PBS/ For many people, there are good reasons to doubt whether the long-anticipated election will take place within the time frame as outlined in the military junta’s political…

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A Buddhist monk bathes the shaved head of the rescued Thai boy and a member of “Wild Boars” football team together with their coach at the Phra That Doi Wao Buddhist temple in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province during the religious ordination ceremony on July 24, 2018. Thai boys rescued from deep inside a flooded cave in a dramatic mission had their heads shaved on July 24 before a Buddhist ordination ceremony in honour of a diver who died during the operation. Panumas Sanguanwong / THAI NEWS PIX / AFP

Wild and breathtaking weeks for the Wild Boars

For the young footballers, aged only between 11 and 16, the transformation that they have been through in a just a period of slightly over a month is nothing short…

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“Wild Boars boys have no memory of dramatic rescue”

The rescue operation to save the 12 young footballers and their coach from the flooded Tham Luang cave network has transfixed the world. It has also been described as probably the…

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