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Yingluck Shinawatra verdict : The implications for Thai political life

Yingluck Shinawatra was sentenced today to 5 years of jail for negligence in preventing corruption and irregularities in her Pheu Thai government’s rice-pledging scheme.

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Under tight security surrounded the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Offices, her supporters who previously would arrive in a thousand has also shrunk to just less than a hundred.

Yingluck Shinawatra was sentenced today to 5 years of jail for negligence in preventing corruption and irregularities in her Pheu Thai government’s rice-pledging scheme.

Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has not been seen since her flight days before she was due to hear a verdict on 25 August at the Supreme Court. She had been on trial for negligence in overseeing a rice-pledging scheme that went bad.

Extremely heavy sentences were handed to her former commerce minister and his deputy. Yingluck’s verdict has been rescheduled for 27 September and will be delivered in absentia.
One Pheu Thai leading member said they have met and agreed not to come to court today as she is absent.

Commenting on Yingluck’s whereabout, Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha said Yesterday he has information about her whereabout but would not disclose until after the verdict is read today.

The 9-member panel of the Supreme Court has scheduled to read the verdict at 9am today.

Yingluck was indicted of alleged negligence in preventing corruption and irregularities in her Pheu Thai government’s rice-pledging scheme.

Her negligence incurred up to 500 billion baht loss to the state and also damaged the country’s rice trading market.

The judgement today for Yingluck was postponed from August 25 when she did not show up in court but left a note to her lawyer to inform the court that she could not arrive in court because she had a balance disorder in the ears.

But the court rejected her reason and viewed her presence was an attempt to escape. The court then seized her 30-million baht bail and issued her arrest warrant. The court also set September 27 or today to read the judgement in absentia.

Ex-premier Yingluck is known to have fled the country with unconfirmed report that she is now in London.

Following her brother Thaksin, Yingluck is the second former prime minister and member of the Shinawatra clan to flee a court ruling. Is this proof of their guilt, or a sign that they believe the prosecutions brought against them were politically motivated?

Unlike last time, police are not expecting a large crowd to turn up on Wednesday. The ruling will nevertheless be closely watched and has important implications.

Whether Yingluck is found guilty and sentenced to up to ten years in prison, found guilty and given a suspended sentence, or even acquitted, the conduct of Thai political life will never be quite the same again. With this precedent, how will future cases of alleged corruption at the highest levels be handled?

The FCCT has assembled a panel of seasoned observers to talk about this important event:

Thitinan Pongsudhirak, an award-winning columnist writing in the Bangkok Post and numerous foreign publications, is an associate professor at Chulalongkorn University’s faculty of political science, and director of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS).

Phongthep Thepkanjana is a former judge who played a senior role in drafting the 1997 constitution. He was a co-founder and deputy leader of the Thai Rak Thai party and served at various times as justice minister, the energy minister, and minister in the prime minister’s office under Thaksin. After a five-year ban from politics, he returned to political life in 2012 and went on to serve as deputy prime minister and education minister under Yingluck.

7pm, Thursday September 28th
Members: free, Non-members 450 Baht, Thai journalists and Students with VALID ID: 150 Baht
Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand
Penthouse, Maneeya Center Building
518/5 Ploenchit Road (connected to the BTS Skytrain Chitlom station)
Patumwan, Bangkok 10330
Tel.: 02-652-0580
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Tourism

More COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed in Thailand from 16 October 2021

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Bangkok, 16 October, 2021 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) would like to provide an update that more COVID-19 restrictions in the dark-red zone provinces have been relaxed while additional businesses and activities have been allowed to resume operations from today (16 October, 2021).

  • Restaurants and eateries, cinemas, theatres, shopping malls, sport stadiums, and public parks are now allowed to resume normal opening hours, but must close no later than 22.00 Hrs.
  • Convenience stores, fresh markets, and flea markets are now allowed to open for all types of goods with the opening hours extended for one hour longer or until 22.00 Hrs. All 24-hour shops must close nightly from 22.00-03.00 Hrs.
  • Day-care centres for elderly people are now allowed to resume operations.
  • Hotels, exhibition halls, convention halls, trade fair centres, or similar types of venues are now allowed to open for meetings, seminars, or other types of events and ceremonies up until 22.00 Hrs.
  • Shopping malls, shopping centres, community malls, or similar establishments can also open for meetings, seminars, or other types of events and ceremonies up until 22.00 Hrs., but must not hold any sales promotional activities and continue to close the amusement parks, water parks, and gaming centres.
  • Public parks, sports stadiums, gyms, fitness centres, and all types of venues for exercise can resume normal opening hours, but no later than 22.00 Hrs.

Meanwhile, gaming centres in shopping malls, shopping centres, community malls, or similar establishments that are not located in the dark-red zone province can now resume operations.

Curfew, Interprovincial Travel & Gatherings of people

To be in effect until 31 October, 2021, the night-time curfew in the dark-red zone provinces has been reduced from 6 to 4 hours, or between 23.00-03.00 Hrs.

Public and private organisations as well as people are still prohibited to organise any activities prone to the spread of disease, but the number of attendees has been increased for each zone. Dark-red zone: No gatherings of more than 50 people (from previously 25 people). Red zone: No gatherings of more than 100 people (from previously 50 people). Orange zone: No gatherings of more than 200 people (from previously 100 people).

Travel between dark-red zone provinces and other areas can resume normal operations but must apply social distancing measures.

Entertainment venues

All types of entertainment venues, including pubs, bars, and karaoke shops are to remain closed. However, the government mentioned that these businesses may undertake preparation to be ready for reopening.

Self-protective measures and distancing efforts

As usual, people nationwide are asked to continue abiding by the health and safety measures in place; such as, wearing a face mask at all times while outside of their residence, regularly washing hands with soap and water/cleaning alcohol, and avoiding unnecessary close contact with others.

TAT would like to remind all travellers to continue with D-M-H-T-T-A precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19: D – Distancing, M – Mask wearing, H – Handwashing, T – Temperature check, T – Testing for COVID-19, and A – alert application.

Thailand’s colour-coding system for COVID-19 control are in place for the following provinces:

23 (down from 29) Maximum and Strict Controlled Areas or dark-red zone provinces

Central Region: Bangkok and 22 other provinces: Ayutthaya, Kanchanaburi, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Ratchaburi, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram, and Saraburi; Eastern Region: Chachoengsao, Chanthaburi, Chon Buri, Prachin Buri, and Rayong; Northern Region: Tak, and Southern Region: Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla, and Yala.

Chanthaburi and Nakhon Si Thammarat have been moved up from red to the dark-red zone.

30 (down from 37) Strict Controlled Areas or red zone provinces

Central Region: Ang Thong, Chai Nat, Lop Buri, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Sing Buri, and Suphan Buri; Eastern Region: Sa Kaeo and Trat; Northern Region: Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Nakhon Sawan, Phichit, Phitsanulok, and Phetchabun; Northeastern Region: Chaiyaphum, Kalasin, Khon Kaen, Maha Sarakham, Nakhon Ratchasima, Si Sa Ket, Surin, Ubon Ratchathani, and Udon Thani, and Southern Region: Chumphon, Phatthalung, Ranong, Satun, Surat Thani, and Trang.

Ang Thong, Lop Buri, Nakhon Ratchasima, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Sing Buri, and Suphan Buri have been moved down from the dark-red to red zone, while Surat Thani has been moved up from the orange zone.

24 (up from 11) Controlled Areas or orange zone provinces

Northern Region: Kamphaeng Phet, Lampang, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son, Nan, Phayao, and Phrae, Sukhothai, Uthai Thani, and Uttaradit; Northeastern Region: Amnat Charoen, Bueng Kan, Buri Ram, Loei, Mukdahan, Nakhon Phanom, Nong Bua Lam Phu, Nong Khai, Roi Et, Sakon Nakhon, and Yasothon, and Southern Region: Krabi, Phang-Nga, and Phuket.

Amnat Charoen, Buri Ram, Kamphaeng Phet, Lampang, Lamphun, Loei, Nong Bua Lam Phu, Nong Khai, Roi Et, Sakon Nakhon, Sukhothai, Uthai Thani, Uttaradit, and Yasothon have been moved down from red to orange zone.

The post More COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed in Thailand from 16 October 2021 appeared first on TAT Newsroom.

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Business

China’s economy stumbles on power crunch

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BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s economy hit its slowest pace of growth in a year in the third quarter, hurt by power shortages, supply chain bottlenecks and major wobbles in the property market and raising pressure on policymakers to do more to prop up the faltering recovery.

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