Thailand Protests 2013 (part 1)

Thailand Protests 2013 – Latest updates 

Monitoring the latest Thailand protests developments & other storms…

For previous updates, please see: http://new.bahtsold.com/updates/?p=2639
For LATEST updates, please scroll to the bottom of this page. Thank you

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Updates: Mon Nov 11 2013

Ed:

First, took this mid-day video of an anti-Govt protest passing along Sukhumvit:

So, what provoked the current anti-Govt protests?

Amnesty Bill: -The current Thai Govt led by ousted former Premier Thaksin Shinawatra’s sister Yingluck Shinawatra, passed an amnesty bill last week which was altered at the last minute to include exonerating Mr Thaksin of past charges of corruption (which resulted in the confiscation of 46 Billion baht of Mr Thaksin’s assets).

-After seeing the vast public backlash against ANY amnesty bill, the Govt hastily withdrew 6 other amnesty bills and we now await the Senate’s vote on the main bill- which may also be re-introduced within 180 days (it is expected/hoped that the Senate will reject the bill).

Senate changes: -Changing the Senate is also on the Govt’s agenda, by proposing that relatives/spouses etc of current members of Parliament be permitted to run in a fully elected Senate. Since Thailand’s electoral boundaries are de-facto controlled by various ‘connected’ families, the resulting scenario may (will) erode already weakened checks-balances even further….

Whilst not a fan of partially ‘appointed’ senators, this situation illustrates the unfortunate needed caution given Thailand’s once again vastly compromised checks-balances.

 Article 190 bill: -The Thai govt also amended article 190 last week. Article 190 of the Constitution require(d) that permission be sought from Parliament before signing any treaty with a foreign country that makes changes to Thai territory.

-In 2008 current Thaksin lawyer and then Foreign Minister Noppadon abruptly bypassed Parliament and signed a MOU with Cambodia which was widely seen as de-facto support of Cambodia’s position on Preah Vihear – ‘allegedly’ in exchange for someone’s gas/oil rights in the disputed Gulf.  (regardless, personally this Ed feels historical Preah Vihear should be jointly protected and shared by both Thailand and Cambodia for ALL)

-Between 4-6 pm today, the ICJ (judicial branch of the United Nations) is set to read a decision on the area in dispute between Thailand/Cambodia. If the decision falls fully in favour of Cambodia there would be concern for an escalation of anti-Govt protests (and possible confrontations by red-shirt pro-Govt groups, also rallying to ‘defend’ the Govt)

Rice ‘scheme’: -The Govt’s rice scheme program (‘allegedly’ enriching many cronies, millers, landlords & insiders/proxies) has cost Thailand 500+ BILLION baht and the Agriculture bank is presently needing multi-millions MORE just to keep afloat… Meanwhile, mega amounts of Thai rice is said to be degrading in storage, whilst other countries forge ahead of formerly world-leading Thailand, at ‘realistic’ market prices.

Flood relief: -The Govt’s ‘flood relief’ measures require another 350 BILLION baht (despite many critics stating much of repeated flood damage was intialised by said Govt incompetence) and concerns are present contracts may be siphoned via insiders/proxies.

Infrastructure plan: – Again, the 2.2 TRILLION baht infrastructure borrowing plan for fast rail and other works is ‘allegedly’ rife for equally fast derailment via siphoning by insiders/proxies.

Telecommunications: – Erm, better to not even go there, as that’s where it started…

Thus, Thailand’s still nascent ‘democracy’ faces many challenges, from ‘alleged’ vote-buying in exchange for hugely magnified personal ‘returns on investment’ to a potential dynasty of ‘same-same’ greased along by ongoing neutered or ‘controlled’ checks & balances…

Meanwhile, Mr Thaksin has reportedly already prepared 2 more back-up parties: http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/377911/thaksin-prepared-to-call-poll

Thakky

 

-Already prepared should the current mothership encounter troubles via the National Anti Corruption Commission or via mounting court cases, also if the need to call snap elections should arise if future polling #s appear dwindling. The plan which entails fielding candidates from the ‘parachute’ parties in areas where current one’s might not win and then folding all parties back into the mothership is quite blatant and will only ascerbate tensions.

Will be monitoring and updating all developments here.

In between updates, some recent news reports for more background:

BLOOMBERG: Thailand’s “Big Brother” Drama
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-07/thailand-s-big-brother-drama.html

NY TIMES: Amnesty Bill That Would Clear Ousted Premier Stirs Thai Anger
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/04/world/asia/amnesty-bill-stirs-opposition-in-thailand.html?_r=0

FORBES: Thailand’s Bubble Economy Is Heading For A 1997-Style Crash (?)
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jessecolombo/2013/11/04/thailands-bubble-economy-is-heading-for-a-1997-style-crash/3/
(Ed: the above piece is a bit ’over the top’ but some fundamentals appear building)

BKK POST: Bank of Agriculture is BROKE due to Rice-pledging scheme:
http://goo.gl/h5H14e

updates upcoming

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UPDATE: 5:15 pm

The ICJ has handed down a ruling on the disputed Thailand/Cambodia territory but it remains ambiguous until the ruling is fully disseminated. Will report further shortly.

Meanwhile, the main anti-Govt protest area continues to swell:

Thai anti Govt protest Nov 11 2013

 

More to follow

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UN court: Cambodia has sovereignty on temple land

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The United Nations’ highest court ruled Monday that Cambodia has sovereignty over a disputed promontory around a 1,000-year-old temple, in the latest attempt to settle a long-simmering border dispute between Cambodia and Thailand.

In a unanimous decision, the International Court of Justice said that a 1962 ruling by its judges gave Cambodia sovereignty over the Preah Vihear promontory and said Thailand was therefore “under an obligation to withdraw from that territory the Thai military or police forces or other guards or keepers that were stationed there.”

-Asked for his initial reaction to the ruling, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong told reporters at the court, “It’s good enough.”

-Thailand’s ambassador to the Netherlands, Virachai Plasai, said Cambodia didn’t get all it wanted from the court, saying judges only delimited “small areas” around the temple.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20131111/eu–world-court-cambodia-thailand/

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Ed:

Nicely worded (with takeaways for both sides talking points)  Monitoring reaction…. plus the Senate is continuing to debate the amnesty bill. Will be updating on all developments.

8 PM: Senate still debating but given the tense circumstance and the wide public dissent against amnesty, fully expect the bill to be dropped (however, by law it could still be resurrected/remanded within 180 days) ironically by ‘law’ which amnesty seeks to neuter.

-The initial reaction to the Preah Vihear decision (which was diplomatically worded by the ICJ to make both sides feel they came out ok) has been thankfully moot thus far.

-The rally at Rajdamnoen (near Khao San Rd) remains large but peaceful. Dem Suthep and 7 others announce they are resigning as MP’s to carry on their protests (thereby forgoing Parliamentary / MP immunity -unlike the red-shirt MP’s it was pointed out). Suthep also called on people to go on a 3 day general work stoppage  (??) Nov 13-15 to join the rally.

-PM Yingluck made a live TV appearance and gave a brief speech basically calming concerns over Preah Vihear, stating ICJ ruling benefits Thailand on many aspects.

Thus, concerns for potential ‘immediate’ escalations have passed without incident. However, as both sides obviously have little trust for each other and with the Dems and anti-Govt side + pro-Govt Reds determined to continue rallying, if neither backs down it may be just a matter of time before a confrontation or a ‘third hand’ event occurs again (usually RPG’s M79′s, men in black, etc…)  The sign that real trouble is about to occur  usually comes after immediate family members and high-ranking Govt MP’s go on sudden overseas ‘shopping trips’ etc simultaneously… Until or IF then,  expect the ‘usual’ rallies.

If anyone reading from afar is wondering if they should delay or cancel a trip to Thailand, would advise to proceed as normal as the present rallies are held in outer areas and the current mobile rallies are usually brief. At present, larger traffic jams are the main concern.

Will be monitoring developments and updating here regularly.

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Updates Tues Nov 12 2013

Senators shoot down blanket amnesty bill

After 12 hours of debate the senators shot down the controversial bill 140 votes to 0.

However, the move is not in line with the demand of Democrat Party protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban who urged the Senate to vote that the bill be classified as a financial bill and return it to the prime minister so that she kill the bill by refusing to endorse it.

Without doing so, the government can revive the bill after a 180-day period.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/379319/senators-reject-amnesty-bill

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Thaksin ‘opposes House dissolution and Yingluck’s resignation’

Despite the mounting pressure against his sister’s embattled government, ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra yesterday instructed the ruling Pheu Thai Party to cling on to power in the hope the opposition-led rally against the amnesty bill would die down soon, a Pheu Thai source said yesterday.

Thaksin, who is believed to be pulling strings behind the ruling party, disagreed with an idea for Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to dissolve the House of Representatives, according to the source.

He believed the anti-amnesty protest, now centring around the Democracy Monument, would fizzle soon after “the funds run out” and the Senate rejects the government-backed amnesty bill. He wanted Pheu Thai MPs to help retain the government’s status quo, the source said.

Ruling politicians presented a number of possible solutions to Thaksin, including House dissolution and the PM’s resignation, but the ex-leader disagreed with those proposals, according to the source.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Thaksin-opposes-House-dissolution-and-Yinglucks-re-30219332.html

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Govt needs to own up to its amnesty error

The content of the wholesale amnesty bill is bad. The way in which the Pheu Thai Party tried to enact was far worse. Limiting a debate on such a controversial bill in the House to an hour and abruptly voting to pass it at 4.25am is unbecoming of an administration that has prided itself as being the embodiment of democracy.

-What the government does not realise, however, is that it is no longer just dealing with a public disagreement over a piece of legislation. What has been unfolding is a crisis of confidence.

FULL article:
http://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/379332/govt-needs-to-own-up-to-its-amnesty-error

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 No hotel cancellation yet: TAT
The Nation November 12, 2013 11:15 am

Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Surapol Svetasreni said Tuesday that hotels in Thailand have not yet witnessed cancellations despite the travel warnings issued by 16 countries.

He said the TAT’s war room has closely monitor the protests and the impacts. TAT has also worked closely with overseas offices and hotel associations.

He said that TAT officers have mingled with protesters at protest sites.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/business/No-hotel-cancellation-yet-TAT-30219353.html

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Ed:

Late day tweet: “Next crucial day politically is Nov 20, when Constitution Court rules on Parliament’s attempt to change Senate’s origin”

*There’s also challenges upcoming via the National Anti Corruption Commission regarding the ‘alleged’ corruption in the now broke rice pledging ‘scheme’, plus non-reported Parliament spendings, plus challenges to the 350 billion baht flood plan, plus  the 2 trillion baht infrastructure plan and on and on…. (one can see many challenges ahead).

Meanwhile, all appears quieter on the protest fronts today. Also rain storms are approaching which could also put a damper on protests (the system arriving is from the incredibly cruel extra tropical depression which hit the Phils after Haiyan’s devastation).

will keep monitoring and updating as necessary

9 pm update:

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“A police billboard says UDD rally tomorrow (10am-10pm) will cause traffic jams as 30K ppl expected to join” 

Apparently a ‘show of support’  for the Govt is on order for tomorrow (via ‘Do-Buy’?) Thus, anyone expecting an apology from the Govt for the amnesty debacle? There’s your answer (plus a stark reminder of the ‘team coordination’ of Red-Shirt leaders/Govt MP’s/Police)

Weds forecast? Showers, mixed with protests…

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Updates: Weds Nov 13 2013

UDD to stage mass rallies this week

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The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship or the red-shirt movement plans to hold mass rallies in Bangkok and its peripheries this week, said Mr Worachai Hema, Pheu Thai MP for Samut Prakan and a core leader of the movement, on Tuesday.

He said that the rallies planned for this week in Bangkok, Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi and Samut Prakan were meant to convey a message to former Democrat MP Suthep Thuagsuban that “Thailand does not belong to just 40,000-50,000 people and there are many other people who will not let the government to be toppled”.

But he assured that the red shirt followers would not confront the anti-government protesters and the rallies would be peaceful.

Referring to the resignation of Suthep and eight other Democrats as members of the parliament in order to lead the protests, Worachai said that their resignation amounted to a defiance against parliamentary system with a malicious intention to overthrow the government.

He added that he expected more Democrat MPs to follow suit by quitting from parliamentary memberships.

He accused these Democrats of committing treason for their attempt to topple the government.

http://englishnews.thaipbs.or.th/udd-stage-mass-rallies-week/

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DSI to investigate ex-Democrat MPs for alleged treason

The Department of Special Investigation has accepted a complaint from the ruling Pheu Thai party against nine former Democrat MPs, including Suthep Thuagsuban, for allegedly committing treason and inciting public unrest.

The party has asked the DSI to investigate Bangkok Governor M.R. Sukhumhand Paribatra and the city clerk for alleged misuse of their authority to support the protesters.

The DSI was also asked to probe into the financiers who have been providing logistic support for the protesters.

Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit said he would file complaint with the Crime Suppression Division and Metropolitan Police Bureau to take legal action against the Democrat party for its support of the current protests.

He asked members of the public affected by the protests to lodge complaints with the DSI against the protest leaders.

http://englishnews.thaipbs.or.th/dsi-investigate-ex-democrat-mps-alleged-treason/

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Ed:

Yet in 2010, this was apparently ok:

Resulting in this (along with several up-country town halls getting the same):

Nevermind, the chap was since promoted and is currently a key Govt MP/Red Leader.

Next up, a weather advisory on the aforementioned tropical depression on its way:

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Advisory No. 1
“Tropical Depression in South China Sea”
Time Issued : November 13, 2013

At 04.00 a.m. on 13 November, the tropical depression in the lower South China Sea was centered about 1,500 kilometers east of Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam or at 9.5 degree north and 121.0 degree east with maximum sustained winds about 55 km/hr and moving west at speed 30 km/hr.

It is forecast to move to across southern Vietnam and cover the East and the upper South of Thailand during 15-16 November. More rain and isolated heavy rain is expected in the lower Northeast, the East, the Central and the South. The stronger wind wave with 2-3 meters high is likely in the upper Gulf of Thailand.

The advisory will be effect on 13 November 2013 at 05.00 a.m.

http://www.tmd.go.th/en/

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Ed:

Just a heads-up, the current showers in Bkk and the Eastern seaboard are NOT from the system mentioned previously. Rather, the tropical low approaching from the Phils is due to arrive late Thurs bringing possibly heavy rain to Gulf of Thailand and other areas  Fri/Sat. Hua Hin and other areas, perhaps brace yourselves for another stormy weekend ahead…

Satellite view (note the rather large tropical depression approaching from the east)

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more updates to follow.

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IMF calls on Thailand to end costly rice subsidies
Associated Press By Thanyarat Doksone

BANGKOK (AP) — The International Monetary Fund called on Thailand to drop its multibillion dollar subsidies for rice growers, saying the program is undermining confidence in the country’s finances.

The rice buying program, a flagship policy of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s government to win support in Thailand’s vote rich farming regions, has accumulated losses of at least $4.46 billion since it was introduced in 2011.

“With the pledging prices about 40 percent above market prices, it is inevitable for the government to incur losses as long as the scheme remains unchanged,” the IMF said in its report. “The government has committed 410 billion baht ($13 billion) to the revolving fund for managing the scheme, but it is unclear how losses will be contained within the size of the fund.”

Rice is Thailand’s staple grain and one of the country’s main exports. But India and Vietnam surpassed Thailand as the world’s top rice exporters in 2012 as the Thai government stockpiled rice to avoid even bigger losses.

The IMF also said lack of data about the rice purchasing program has diminished confidence in Thailand’s public finances.

The IMF suggested the Thai government replace rice price pledging and other generalized subsidies with programs that are targeted at vulnerable groups, including low-income farming households.

The scheme has been dogged by corruption and accusations the government has hidden its true cost.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/imf-calls-thailand-end-costly-121254683.html

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Ed:

If anyone is wondering why anti-Govt rallies are continuing, the above illustrates just ONE reason.  Whilst millers, middlemen and connected insiders ‘allegedly’ receive the most ‘benefits’, the truly poor farmers which the ‘scheme’ is supposedly intended, see little benefit, meanwhile the countries finances are bleeding RED.

Speaking of which, no sign (yet) of the 30,000 strong red-shirt pro-Govt rally which the police were so helpful in ‘advertising’ yesterday via placards…. Perhaps after the afternoon showers ebb…

updates to follow

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Kittiratt: IMF economy proposals ‘unsuitable’
Published: 13 Nov 2013 at 14.30

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) should conduct an in-depth study into the state of Thailand’s economy if it wants to propose “suitable” financial solutions for the country, Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said on Wednesday.

Mr Kittiratt, who is also deputy prime minister, made the comments after an IMF report called on Thailand to scrap its multi-billion baht subsidies for rice growers and instead offer money to poor farmers directly.

“We listened to different points of view but the IMF needs to profoundly understand the situation before giving theoretical comments,” he said, adding that he had not yet read the report.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/379621/kittiratt-brands-imf-proposals-for-thailand-unsuitable

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Ed: perhaps the Govt should dispatch their red-shirt MP’s to protest at the IMF offices (?)

more updates to follow

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6 pm updates:

Thaksin ‘Will Not’ Press Libel Charge Against Actress

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(13 November) The legal representative of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra said his client would no longer pursue a defamation case against the celebrity actress who went on a tirade against Mr. Thaksin on the stage of anti-government rally.

Previously, Mr. Thaksin had appointedMr. Winyat Chartmontri to press charge against Ms. Pattarathida ′Tang Mo′ Patcharaweerapong, accusing her of defaming the former leader during her speeches at Ratchadamnoen Avenue, where thousands of anti-government has been camping.

But Mr. Winyat said yesterday Mr. Thaksin has informed him that he would not proceed with the case.

Mr. Thaksin believes that [Ms. Pattarathida] lacks maturity, so it′s natural that she misunderstood facts about the situation,” Mr. Winyat told reporters, “Therefore, Mr. Thaksin would like to give her a chance by withdrawing the legal action against her”.

He added, “But we would like Ms. Pattarathida to be careful about her words that might mislead the public and cause misunderstanding in the future. If she repeated such action ever again, the legal team of my client will reconsider the matter”.

http://www.khaosod.co.th/en/view_newsonline.php?newsid=TVRNNE5ETXpNVEU1TkE9PQ==&sectionid=TURFd01BPT0=

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Police chief says bad elements plan to torch UN building
in General | November 13, 2013

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Ill-intent elements may attempt to torch the Escap building on Ratchadamnoen Avenue in order to escalate the current protests, Pol General Adul Saengsingkaeo, the national police chief, said Wednesday.

He claimed that the information about the sabotage attempt against the United Nations agency on the Ratchadamnoen Avenue came from the police intelligence unit.

He did not elaborate and did not give any evidence to back up the information.

http://englishnews.thaipbs.or.th/police-chief-says-bad-elements-plan-torch-un-building/

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Chuwit asks Suthep to understand “Mr Green Tea”
November 13, 2013

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Rak Prathet Thai (Love Thailand) party leader Chuwit Kamolvisit pleaded with Ratchadamnoen protest leader Suthep Thuagsuban to understand and be fair with wellknown businessman Tan Pasakornnathee, producer of the Ishitan brand bottled green tea.

A campaign is being waged in the social media by protest supporters to boycott the Ishitan green tea after Mr Tan was quoted to have said that only a small number of people joined the protest.

Suthep, said Mr Chuwit in his message posted on his Facebook page, asked the protesters to stop drinking the green tea because Mr Tan’s remark about the protest.

Like any other businessmen, Mr Chuwit said that Mr Tan didn’t want to take side in the current political conflict. These businessmen, he added, often chose to side with the winner which is the government camp. And if any of them chose to take side with the Opposition, they would be subjected to persecution by government authorities such as their accounting books would be checked and rechecked by revenue officials to find out if they intentionally evaded taxes or not or their businesses would be investigated.

http://englishnews.thaipbs.or.th/chuwit-asks-suthep-understand-mr-green-tea/

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Homecoming still out of ousted Thai leader’s reach

AP:  After two weeks of noisy protests, the message from the streets of Bangkok is clear: There will be no immediate homecoming for Thailand’s most polarizing political figure, Thaksin Shinawatra.

 It’s understandable that the former prime minister might be frustrated.

Supporting pro-Thaksin parties through two successful election campaigns – in 2007 and 2011 – and funding the grassroots pro-Thaksin Red Shirts organization – and likely many under-the-table deals – has probably cost the billionaire businessman-politician millions of dollars, but still failed to free him from the threat of time behind bars.

FULL article:
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/thai-leader-issues-plea-end-protests-20859698?singlePage=true

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Ed:

Latest Tweets:

Anti-Govt Dem Rally: “On Thursday there will be a protest march at 9am > Ratchadamnoen, Lan Luang, Ratchathewi, MBK, Chula University, Sala Daeng & Silom”

Pro-Govt Red Rally: “30,000 expected to join today’s red shirt rally in Samut Prakarn (according to local police) but the turnout is much less due to rain. 18-20 Nov: Red shirt rally at MuangThong Thani”

Fully expect the red rally to ‘go mobile’ at some point as well (hopefully not meeting on same roads…)

will be updatiing

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Updates: Thurs Nov 14 2013

Ratings boom for political TV

-The PSI Rating System reported the Blue Sky Channel, a pro-Democrat channel, has seen its ratings jump this month to eighth from 22nd in October. The channel drew 224,000 viewers at its peak during prime time from 6-10pm, while it has 248,000 Facebook fans. The channel is viewed mostly in Greater Bangkok and southern Thailand, strongholds of the Democrat Party.

-Asia Update, a pro-Pheu Thai channel, is also among the top 10 channels in the country. It rose to No.7 this month from eighth in October. Its viewers reached 271,000 this month, while its Facebook fan page has 51,000 fans. Asia Update is mostly viewed in the Northeast, Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani. Its prime time is 6-9pm.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/breakingnews/379713/ratings-boom-for-political-tv

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Social media fans fires of dissent

Social media analyst ZocialEye.com took the pulse of social media usage in Thailand between October 12 and November 11. It found that Twitter was the most used social media channel for protesting the controversial amnesty bill with over 800,000 messages in total.

The phrase sood-soi, meaning go to the end of the soi, was the top mentioned across social media platforms on the night of November 6.

Another notable trend was that increased numbers of women were talking about politics over social media. According to experts, normally the ratio of men to women discussing politics is 70:30. Over the last month it has levelled to around 60:40.

On Pantip.com, there were over 6,000 politics and amnesty bill-related topics boasting more than 198,399 comments in total.

Meanwhile, 2,382 photographs relating to the amnesty bill were posted onto Instagram with a total of 500,000 likes.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Social-media-fans-fires-of-dissent-30219570.html

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Foreigners pull money out of Thai stocks and bonds

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foreign tourist yesterday crosses a street where anti-government protesters at Democracy Monument. (EPA photo)

Foreign investors’ extended retreat has raised their net-sell position in the Thai stock market so far this month to Bt18.7 billion, amid the raging political chaos at home and rising volatility in the global financial market.

Yesterday alone, foreign investors sold Thai shares worth Bt10.2 billion against purchases of Bt5.9 billion, resulting in net sales of Bt4.28 billion. This followed the Bt3.3 billion in net sales on Tuesday and over Bt1 billion on Monday. The year-to-date net-sell has ballooned to Bt123.95 billion. Global funds have also pulled some investment from Thai equities this month.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/business/Foreigners-pull-money-out-of-Thai-stocks-and-bonds-30219536.html

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Business As Usual For Khaosarn Road Despite Protests

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The rhythm of Bangkok′s backpacker street remains unaffected by the raging anti-government protests that occupied the entire southern stretch of Ratchadamnoen Avenue just few blocks away.

http://www.khaosod.co.th/en/view_newsonline.php?newsid=TVRNNE5ETTFOekkzTkE9PQ==&sectionid=TURVd01BPT0=

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Ed: 

Regarding the ‘foreigners pulling funds’ headline, on closer inspection it appears the largest withdrawal came yesterday coinciding with the International Monetary Fund cautioning Thailand on its finances… (which was summarily dismissed by the Finance Minister, before even bothering to read the report…)

Regarding the social media ratings stats, it’s likely more Bangkok (Dem) supporters are on social media etc versus upcountry and sub-urban pro-Govt supporters, thus not a fair comparison but interesting nonetheless.

Meanwhile, an anti-Govt side named the “Network of Students and People for Reform of Thailand” has led their followers on a mobile rally to Silom today.

*Upcoming flash points - Next week the Constitution Court will rule on 2 issues:

1) The Govt’s changing of article 190 to eliminate the need for public hearings or Parliament approval before signing any treaty with a foreign country that makes changes to Thai territory  (a contentious issue especially given the recent Preah vihear example)

2) The Govt’s bill changing the makeup of the Senate to allow family members of current House members/MP’s to run in a fully elected senate. (since Thailand’s House and electoral boundaries are de-facto controlled by various ‘connected’ families, the fear is the resulting scenario may erode already weakened checks-balances even further, reducing the Senate to a mere ‘rubber stamp’ in favour of Govt’s future bills, laws, amendments)

-Complicating the above issue further, QUOTE:

“A bill to revise the charter was recently passed by Parliament, prompting the Democrat Party to petition the Constitution Court.

If the court rules on Thursday that the charter amendment is against the Constitution, 312 MPs and senators who voted for the bill will immediately lose their parliamentary seats and political parties in the ruling bloc will be dissolved

Thus,  both camps will be trying to gain numbers and will be rallying next week as a result. The Dems & associated anti-Govt camps against the contentious bills and the Reds are organising a mass rally Nov 18-20 to ‘defend’ the Govt (and show the court their #s….) BTW, the above report states court ruling Thurs, it’s actually next Weds Nov 20.
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In between all the noise falls the annual Loy Krathong festival (Sunday) which *should* (hopefully) see both camps stand down to allow people to float their Krathongs in peace….

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Should re-mention, a sizeable tropical depression is currently approaching which once passed into the upper Gulf of Thailand will be reduced to a tropical low but still bring rain (possibly heavy in areas) plus high seas and winds along coastal areas. Thus, expect thunderstorms tonight (followed by a brief respite) then through Sunday over a wide area.

Satellite image @ 4:30 pm today: (please click image to enlarge)

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will be monitoring both natural & ‘man-made’ storms and updating here…

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Updates: Fri Nov 15 2013

Weather Advisory No. 9 (356/2013) Subject: Tropical Storm “PODUL”

At 04.00 a.m. on 15 November, the tropical depression in the lower South China Sea which upgrade to tropical storm and lay centered about 300 kilometers east of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam or at latitude 12.0 degree north and longitude 110.0 degree east with maximum sustained winds about 65 km/hr. The storm was moving west at speed 20 km/hr.

It is forecast to move across southern Vietnam in the morning today and downgrade with move pass Cambodia and cover the East, the Gulf and the upper South of Thailand during 16-17 November.

More rain and isolated heavy rain are expected in the lower Northeast, the East, the Central and the upper South, the areas include Rayong, Chanthaburi, Trat, Ratchaburi, Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan.

The stronger wind wave 2-3 meters high is likely in the upper Gulf of Thailand. Small ships keep ashore during the period.

http://thainews.prd.go.th/centerweb/newsen/NewsDetail?NT01_NewsID=WNWEA5611150010001

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Police refresh forces for Friday rally

Officials have deployed a fresh team of police officers to maintain order at the Democrat Party’s anti-government rally, after demonstrators promised to escalate their campaign another step on Friday.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/379832/police-refresh-forces-for-friday-rally

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Plodprasob retaliates
November 15, 2013 6:48 am

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Deputy Premier Plodprasob Surasawadee has started carrying a whistle to retaliate against anybody who chooses to blow a whistle at him.

He said yesterday that he met Education Minister Chaturon Chaisang, who was assaulted by whistle blowers on Wednesday. He told Chaturon that if he was attacked by whistles he would blow one back because anybody who blows a whistle at another is an unethical person.

Blowing a whistle at government figures is one of four ways for people to show civil disobedience, as urged by former Democrat MP Suthep Thaugsuban. The other two are withholding corporate tax and flying a Thai flag outside the home.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Plodprasob-retaliates-30219664.html

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Ed:

Deputy Premier Plodprasob (also the Govt’s flood ‘guru’ in 2011 and this year…)  wins ‘quote of the day’ (thus far) by stating“ if he was ‘attacked by whistles’ he would blow one back because anybody who blows a whistle at another is an unethical person (???)

Latest tweet: “At least 2 scheduled protests in #Bangkok today. 12pm at Ratchaprasong & 3pm at Platinum Pratunam.”

updates to follow

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‘Thai patriots’ rally at Ratchaprasong
November 15, 2013 2:32 pm

The so-called anti-corruption Thai patriots group rallied at the Ratchaprasong Intersection at noon Friday against the amnesty bill and against the ruling on the Preah Vihear dispute.

The group led by Tul Sitthisomwong gathered in front of CentralWorld and most of them blew whistles nearly all time.

www.nationmultimedia.com/breakingnews/Thai-patriots-rally-at-Ratchaprasong-30219681.html

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Ed:

‘Happened’ to be at Central world today and took the following video:

This was the smaller anti Govt ‘Thai Patriots’ group headed by Dr Tul.

Meanwhile, the ‘main’ anti-Govt protest site at Democracy Monument on Ratchadamnoen (near Khao San Road) is filling up quickly as of 4pm after people leave work for the day:

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However, the winds are picking up and the sky is dark with clouds coming in heralding the soon to arrive storm ‘Podul’ (which will likely put a damper on activities this weekend)

updates to follow

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Deputy PM warns of third party involvement in protest

Deputy Prime Minister Pracha Promnok today warned of stern action against protesters at the Democracy Monument if they go overboard in their anti-government demonstration.

He admitted concern about possible infiltration by a third party to instigate violence in light of the demonstrators’ announcement to strengthen and spread out their movement in the capital later today.

They have the right to rally as long as they do not infringe on other people’s right including road blocking which is strongly inappropriate, he said.

Pol Gen Pracha quoted an intelligence report as saying that other people, especially drug addicts and the unemployed, will enter Bangkok to create unrest.

“The security authorities will stop them. Demonstrators should be on the lookout for these people,” said the deputy premier.

http://www.mcot.net/site/content?id=5285b58c150ba0d431000240#.UoX7SNJHIQo

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Ed:

A Govt ‘intelligence report is warning that ‘drug addicts and the unemployed’ will enter Bkk to create unrest (??) However, from many, many, MANY past episodes, the ‘3rd hand‘  (usually code for MIB, RPG’s M97′s etc) appears to support the ‘Do-Buy’ side…

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Late day look at tropical storm Podul: (click images to enlarge)

TS 32 Podul Thailand Track Nov 15 2013

Projected ‘center’ line track: (to 9 am Sat)

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Projected exit path:

wp201332_ensmodel

Although wide-reaching and will be downgraded further, particularly Prachuap-Chumphon  & mid-coast areas (+Samui?) best batten down the hatches.

updates to follow

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Updates Sat Nov 16 2013

Advisory “Tropical Storm “PODUL””
No. 13 Time Issued : November 16, 2013

At 04.00 a.m. on 16 November, the active low cover the upper Gulf of Thailand causing more rain are expected in the the East, the lower Central and the South, and isolated heavy rain in Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon and Surat Thani. The stronger wind wave 2-3 meters high is likely in the upper Gulf of Thailand. Small ships keep ashore during 16-17 November.

The advisory will be effect on 16 November 2013 at 5.00 a.m.

http://www.tmd.go.th/en/

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Ed:

Podul is proving to be a bit of a dud (thus far and thankfully). Still heads-up to Prachuap/Chumphon/Surat for potential isolated heavy rain.

       Meanwhile, troubling signs ahead for next week:

  • Govt: ‘war weapons’ at protest site
  • Court to rule on Puea Thai Party Weds – potential dissolution
  • Red-shirts warn Court if verdict doesn’t go ‘their’ way
  • Business people supporting protest summoned for ‘interrogation’
  • Villagers clash with police at forum
  • Thaksin’s daughters leave abruptly on overseas trip…

       Please click the link below to view continued topic:
 >>>   http://new.bahtsold.com/updates/?p=3007  <<<

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