Thai Faces Jail for Insulting King’s Dog

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A Thai faces prison after being charged with lese majeste for insulting the king’s dog, his lawyer said today, in an escalation of the already draconian royal defamation law.

“Thanakorn also faces lese majeste, sedition and computer crimes charges for clicking ‘like’ on a doctored photo of the king and sharing it, plus an infographic on a growing corruption scandal engulfing the junta.”

Thanakorn Siripaiboon, 27, has been charged by police with lese majeste for a “satirical” Facebook post about the king and his dog, lawyer Pawinee Chumsri told AFP.

“There was a post including three photos on his Facebook page on December 6 with a message that satirised the king’s dog,” she said.

Thanakorn also faces lese majeste, sedition and computer crimes charges for clicking “like” on a doctored photo of the king and sharing it, plus an infographic on a growing corruption scandal engulfing the junta.

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“Thanakorn, an auto-parts worker, could face up to 37 years in prison. There has been a recent trend towards record-breaking sentences on transgressors, many of whom are also regime critics.”

Thailand has one of the world’s harshest royal defamation laws. Anyone convicted of insulting the revered but ailing 88-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej, or the queen, heir or regent can face up to 15 years in jail on each count.

Prosecutions have soared since the army, which styles itself as the champion of the monarchy, grabbed power in a coup last year. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Dashcam: Shooting Star, Bangkok Thailand, Nov 2, 2015 

Fireball, iridium flare ? Bangkok, Thailand. The time in video is not correct because camera time setting (It should be around 20:38 in bangkok time) Jukin Media Verified (Original)


China’s Desperate Battle Against Separatist Terrorism

Zunyou Zhou writes: Thailand’s police have linked the August 17 bomb attack on the Erawan Shrine, a popular tourist attraction in Bangkok, to Uighurs, a largely Muslim ethnic group some of whom have been fleeing Chinese rule. The bombing killed 20 people, including seven Chinese tourists, and injured more than 100 others. Nobody has claimed responsibility for one of the worst terrorist incidents in recent Thai history.

Two men are currently in Thai custody: one is an ethnic Uighur carrying a Chinese passport while the other’s nationality hasn’t been confirmed. Thai police and security analysts have said that the perpetrators may have sought retaliation for Thailand’s forced repatriation to China of more than 100 Uighurs in July or for Bangkok’s crackdown on a human smuggling ring that had transported Uighurs from China to Turkey.

If the Thai allegation proves to be true, the blast would mark a rare spillover of violence related to Uighurs outside China. This attack would add a new dimension to the serious issue of terrorism in China, with significant security implications not only for China but also for Turkey, Thailand and other transit countries in connection with the movement of Uighurs.

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Uighurs are a Turkic-speaking minority group who call China’s far-western Xinjiang region home. Overseas-based exile groups and campaigners say that Uighurs face brutal repression in China; Beijing denies any religious or cultural discrimination and maintains that its policies help bring stabilityand prosperity to Xinjiang.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

Since 2008, China has faced an increasing number of violent attacks which Beijing has blamed on Uighur separatists connected to overseas terrorist organizations. The violence had typically been confined to Xinjiang until October 2013 when a jeep careened onto the sidewalk near Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, killing two pedestrians and injuring more than 40 others; the three perpetrators set the vehicle on fire, taking their lives.

Several months later, a handful of Uighurs mounted a mass knifing at a train station in the southwestern city of Kunming, leaving at least 29 civilians dead and more than 140 others wounded. Beijing said the perpetrators were separatists who had carried out the attack after they failed to flee China for Southeast Asia. Read the rest of this entry »


PSY/OPS: The Thai Junta Is Using Sexy Babes in Skimpy Camo to Win Some Popularity

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Because a sexy smile is totally going to make up for arbitrary detention and suspension of civil liberties

For TIMECharlie Campbell writes: After seizing power in a coup d’état on May 22, Thailand’s ruling military has faced street protests, the wrath of rights groups and international censure.

But now the generals have launched their own PR campaign to win the hearts and minds of their compatriots — using music, dancing and, well, pretty young women in skimpy military fatigues.

On Wednesday, a crowd of several thousand thronged Bangkok’s militaristic Victory Monument — which has actually been the hub of fervent anticoup protests over the past fortnight — for an evening of music and hawkish propaganda. Read the rest of this entry »


TV Stations Silenced, Schools Shut After Thai Army Coup

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Thai soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint near the pro-government ”Red shirts” camp site on the outskirts of Bangkok on May 22, 2014. Photographer: Manan Vatsyayana/AFP via Getty Images

For BloombergChris Blake and Anuchit Nguyen report: Schools were shut and international television channels were off air as stations broadcast military logos and periodic army statements, a day after Thailand’s military seized control following a six-month political stalemate that has sapped economic growth.

Traffic was light in Bangkok after the army ordered schools and universities closed until May 25. Army Chief Prayuth Chan-Ocha, who announced the coup on national television yesterday, imposed a nationwide curfew from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. and banned political protests. Read the rest of this entry »


What Selfies Reveal About Cultural Stereotypes

A new project by data visualization wunderkind in collaboration with Lev Manovich, Jay Chow, and Nadav Hochman, SelfieCity is an attempt to analyze the data of more than 3,000 self-portraits and, in doing so, extrapolate what a selfie is even meant to say in the first place.

A new project by data visualization wunderkind in collaboration with Lev Manovich, Jay Chow, and Nadav Hochman, SelfieCity is an attempt to analyze the data of more than 3,000 self-portraits and, in doing so, extrapolate what a selfie is even meant to say in the first place.

John Brownlee  reports:  Moritz Stefaner and his collaborators analyzed more than 3,000 Instagram selfies from around the world, revealing everything from the age of the average selfie taker to how much she opens her mouth and more.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many is a selfie worth?

That’s what SelfieCity wants to find out. A new project by data visualization wunderkind in collaboration with Lev Manovich, Jay Chow, and Nadav Hochman, SelfieCity is an attempt to analyze the data of more than 3,000 self-portraits and, in doing so, extrapolate what a selfie is even meant to say in the first place. In the process, SelfieCity was able to figure out everything from the age of the average selfie takers to how much they opened their mouth and more…

“People take fewer selfies than you’d think.”

• People take fewer selfies than you’d think. According to SelfieCity’s data, only 3% to 5% of the 300,000-plus images that they examined were actually selfies.

• Women take more selfies than men. “In every city we analyzed, there are significantly more women selfies than men taking, from 1.3 times as many in Bangkok to 1.9 times more in Berlin,” Stefaner says. In Moscow, the discrepancy is even more striking: 4.6 times more women take selfies in the Russian capitol then men. No matter where, if a man takes selfies, though, he’s likely to be older: the median age of men who post selfies on Instagram is more than 30 years old.

“People are happiest in Bangkok and São Paulo, and more miserable in Moscow.”

• Women strike more extreme poses in selfies (especially in São Paulo). According to SelfieCity’s research, women tend to take more expressive, sexy poses than men in their selfies. On average, the head tilt of a woman’s selfie is 150% higher than for men (12.3° vs. 8.2°). Translated, this means an awful lot of women take selfies holding their cameras way above their heads. But in São Paulo, it’s even crazier: there, the average head tilt for females is 16.9°! Guess they want to fit their bikinis in-frame.

Read the rest of this entry »


China Flexes Muscles, Pounds Chest, Like Tarzan, in U.S.-Led Military Exercises

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BANGKOK — Richard S. Ehrlich reports:  The U.S. is leading the largest multinational military exercise in the Asia-Pacific region, and Chinese media are hailing Beijing’s first-time participation in the annual drill as proof that the communist nation’s “regional military impact” cannot be ignored.

Nearly 14,000 troops from the U.S. and Asia-Pacific countries are participating in Cobra Gold 2014, which opened Tuesday at Camp Akatosarot, about 230 miles north of Bangkok.

“Cobra Gold truly replicates the dynamic security environment we find ourselves in today, and what we will face in the future,” Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, said at the opening ceremony for the military exercise.

Read the rest of this entry »