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  1. Since the military coup on May 22, Thailand has been under a strict curfew. Initially, everyone was ordered indoors from 10pm to 5am. The curfew has just been relaxed however – allowing tourists and locals to stay out in the evenings – as long as they are off the streets between midnight and 4am. Naturally, visitor numbers are down and the industry is suffering. Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT) President Piyaman Tejapaibul this week called on the military to lift the curfew entirely in tourist hotspots around the country. And while evidence suggests that this has already happened in some tourist areas, albeit highly informally, it remains to be seen whether restrictions will relax further over the weekend, and whether rules affecting holidaymakers will become more flexible or tighten up. Bangkok, night life capital of the world, has been feeling the squeeze the hardest. Five-star hotels are offering special rates for tourists and promotions to entice locals to spend the night after coming for drinks or dinner, and avoid rushing home for curfew. The city usually comes to life at night and glows with hedonistic abandon, but for the past few days, the Thai capital’s usually packed concrete canyons have been largely deserted, its countless bars, clubs, shops and restaurants closed in line with the military’s orders. via Thailand: Is the party over for now? The effect of the curfew on tourism – Telegraph. View the full article
  2. <p>The Thai economy will likely expand by 0.2% or even contract this year, according to a Moody’s report.</p> <p>The coup could cause the economy to shrink, Fred Gibson wrote in Moody’s Analytics on Friday.</p> <p>Persistent political squabbling could also affect the long-term investment outlook and, by extension, the</p> <p>economy’s growth potential.</p> <p>Exports, the only bright spot in the latest economic data, will likely ease as the outlook across major trading partners has softened.</p> <p>The higher sales tax in Japan is expected to weigh heavily on growth over the coming quarters, with knock-on effects for Thai exporters, he said.</p> <p>“We have lowered our US 2014 GDP forecast to 2.6% from over 3% earlier with the weak first quarter GDP numbers and softness in the housing market.</p> <p>“Given recent events we now think the economy will record a second negative quarter in the three months to June, putting it in recession,” he wrote.</p> <p>via <a href="http://www.bangkokpost.com/most-recent/411426/moody-forsees-recession">Moody’s forsees recession | Bangkok Post: Most recent</a>.</p> View the full article
  3. As the Hong Kong Travel Industry Council announced a red travel alert to Thailand, in light of the Thai military announcing a coup, all group tours heading for the country has been cancelled. Joseph Tung, Travel Industry Council executive director, claims that 1,300 holidaymakers, part of 70 groups will be affected. What will happen to tours scheduled for departure after May 31 will be reviewed and decided next week reports the SCMP. Hongkongers vacationing in Thailand are urged to seek caution and avoid areas of protests and large gatherings. via All tours to Thailand from Hong Kong cancelled | Coconuts Hong Kong. View the full article
  4. The National Peace and Order Maintaining Council (POMC), the ruling junta set up by the Thai army after yesterday’s coup, said this morning on their Facebook page that Thai citizens should not believe rumors that they will shut down the internet, social works, Line, or Youtube. They also advised that citizens follow information from the Royal Thai Army Radio and Television Station (Channel 5) only. via Peace and Order Maintaining Council: Don’t believe rumors about shutting down internet. View the full article
  5. The United States says it is reviewing its military aid and other dealings with Thailand, its closest ally in Southeast Asia. US Secretary of State John Kerry said in a blunt statement, “there is no justification for this military coup.” He said “this act will have negative implications for the US-Thai relationship, especially for our relationship with the Thai military. We are reviewing our military and other assistance and engagements, consistent with US law.” Kerry said he was concerned by reports that senior political leaders had been detained and called for their release. He urged the “immediate” restoration of civilian government and the lifting of curbs on the media. Under US law, with limited exceptions, no US foreign aid may flow to any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup d’etat or decree. At the same time the Pentagon said it was reviewing its military cooperation, including an ongoing joint exercise in Thailand involving some 700 US marines and sailors. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that as much as about $10 million in annual bilateral aid could be cut. via US to cut aids to Thailand | Thai PBS English News. View the full article
  6. The army imposed martial law on Tuesday and today the chief of the army made a televised address to the nation announcing that it was seizing power. It has imposed a nightly, nationwide curfew between 10pm and 5am which will apply both to locals and tourists. During this time tourists in all parts of the country must return to their accommodation before 10pm and not leave again until after 5am. Tourists planning to fly into or out of the country after 10pm will be an exception however. As in previous coups, these travellers will be allowed to move between the airport and their hotels, according to a military spokesman. Air passengers with flights departing out of Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang International Airports are advised to set out at least four hours prior to their flight departure time. The army has also banned gatherings of more than five people, Reuters reported. via Thailand coup: tourists must abide by curfew – Telegraph.
  7. Thailand’s army chief announced on Thursday that the military is seizing control of the government, and suspending the constitution just two days after the military insisted that declaring martial law was not indicative of a coup. Royal Thai Army Commander-in-Chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha announced the maneuver to the public in a televised address, saying “In order for the country to return to normal quickly, the National Peace Keeping Committee comprised of the army, the Thai armed forces, the Royal Air Force and the police need to seize power as of May 22 at 4.30 p.m.,” adding “All Thais must remain calm and government officials must work as normal.” The Thai army has already announced a nationwide curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.. Military Goes Full Coup d’Etat In Thailand – The Wire.
  8. Thailand’s military launched a coup Thursday, detaining leaders of rival factions and sweeping into the streets in a move it said was necessary to end months of political turmoil. In a nationally televised announcement, Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, commander in chief of the Royal Thai Army, said the military takeover would help a fractious country “return to normal quickly.” But the move could also inflame tensions, eliminating an elected government and marginalizing a boisterous opposition group while putting power in the hands of military leaders who have largely stood on the sidelines in recent months. “The military has to return peace and order to the country as soon as possible,” Prayuth said. Soon after the coup, the military said it had suspended the constitution and officially dismissed the caretaker government. Prayuth was announced as the head of a council that will temporarily run the country. Thai military declares a coup, detains key political leaders – The Washington Post
  9. <p>Suan Dusit Poll of Ratchabhat University’s Suan Dusit campus conducted an opinion survey from a total of 1,264 people during May 20-21. The results of the survey are as follows:</p> <p>- 50.93 percent said the martial law would help ease the tensioin and the army are capable of controlling the situation and preventing confrontation.</p> <p>- 25.75 percent believe that martial law is a way out of the conflict and the people will feel more secured.</p> <p>- 11.49 percent are worried because the martial law may affect their livelihood and render inconvenience to their travelling.</p> <p>- 7.14 percent are concerned that the martial law will impact on the country’s image and stability.</p> <p>- 4.66 percent are afraid that the special law may provoke resistance which may lead to more violence.</p> <p>The poll showed that 75.95 percent agreed with the martial law because it would help prevent violence and people feel more secured whereas 12.34 percent said that with or without martial law the political conflict would not be resolved and protests would continue as normal.</p> <p>The 11.71 percent who opposed the law said that the martial law was unjustified because there was no riot or serious violence to justify the imposition of the law. Moreover, the law will give a false impression that a coup has taken place.</p> <p>via <a href="http://englishnews.thaipbs.or.th/poll-shows-75-percent-people-support-martial-law/">Poll shows over 75 percent of the people support martial law | Thai PBS English News</a>.</p> View the full article
  10. <p>SAMUT SAKHON – Soldiers seized a small arsenal of firearms, ammunition and explosives from the dormitory room of a 44-year-old woman on Wednesday morning. Two red-shirt membership cards were also found in the room.</p> <p>In Lop Buri a former army ranger was detained along with a cache of guns, ammunition and many improvised explosive devices he admitted were destined for Bangkok.</p> <p>The Samut Sakhon weapons cache was found in a room at the NCO dormitory on Suan Luang Road in Krathum Baen district, reports said. The room was in the name of Chantana Warakornsakulkij, a Kanchanaburi native.</p> <p>Inside the room the soldiers found a small arsenal that included an AK-47 equipped with a scope, an M79 grenade launcher, a machine pistol, a carbine, a pistol, eight improvised explosive devices, 12 grenades nine of them for an M-79 launcher, a grenade launcher, 120 bottles of nitroglycerin and body armour.About 1,200 bullets of various calibre were also confiscated.</p> <p>via <a href="http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/411022/caches-of-firearms-ammunition-and-explosives-seized-in-raids-in-lop-buri-and-samut-sakhon">Caches of firearms, ammunition and explosives seized in raids in Lop Buri and Samut Sakhon | Bangkok Post: news</a>.</p> View the full article
  11. In most capital cities, waking up to images of armed soldiers, military vehicles and blockades on the streets — the result of an unexpected 3 a.m. announcement that the army has declared martial law — might be cause for alarm. But Bangkok isn’t your average city. via Soldiers, selfies and martial law: Thailand’s tourism industry suffers – CNN.com. View the full article
  12. A huge fire Tuesday night burnt down part of the 150-year-old floating market in Bang Pli district of Samut Prakan province. The fire at Talad Nam Boran floating market located by the Klong Samrong canal happened at about 9.30 p.m. after a cooking gas tank leaked and exploded. The wooden bridge which was built parallel to the canal caught fire and quickly raged to the wooden row shop houses. Residents started to flee from their homes when the fire spread quickly as strong wind help to fan it. More than 20 fire engines rushed to the scene but could not get access to the market due to its narrow entrance. Firemen have to drag their fire hoses along the small lanes to get to the fire. The fire raged for an hour before it could be kept under control. More than 50 wooden houses were gutted. Police were investigating the cause but initially they suspected gas leak from a cooking gas tank and explosion was the cause. via Old floating market fire | Thai PBS English News. View the full article
  13. BANGKOK—Thailand’s army chief will chair a meeting Wednesday between representatives from both sides of the country’s bitter political divide, a day after declaring martial law, a military spokeswoman said. General Prayut Chan-O-Cha called the meeting between top officials of the ruling and opposition parties as well as the election commission, the Senate and the heads of the pro- and anti-government protest camps at the Army Club in Bangkok at 1:30 p.m. (0630 GMT), the spokeswoman told Agence France-Presse. Caretaker Prime Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan, who replaced ousted premier Yingluck Shinawatra after a controversial court ruling last week, was also invited, the military later confirmed. Prayut invoked martial law on Tuesday, saying he had to act because political tensions have spiralled following months of deadly anti-government protests — a move critics branded a “de facto coup”. He denied it marked a military takeover and had promised he would bring together the antagonists in Thailand’s political conflict for talks on an end to the crisis. But the dispatch of armed troops to the streets, the shutdown of more than a dozen television stations, and the sweeping powers assumed by the military have sparked international concern over restricted civil liberties in the kingdom. via Thai army chief calls meeting of political rivals | Inquirer News. View the full article
  14. A top US diplomat said Tuesday the declaration of martial law by the Thai Army is allowed by the nation’s constitution and won’t trigger sanctions, AP reported. But he called for the early restitution of democracy and free and fair elections, according to American diplomat for East Asia, Daniel Russel. Under the U.S. law, sanctions kick in if a country receiving American military aid suffers a coup. Following Thailand’s last military coup in 2006, the U.S. froze military assistance for a year-and-a-half until democracy was restored, AP reported. It also reported from Washington that State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the military actions so far have not triggered such a response. But she said the U.S. expects the Thai military to abide by its commitment that martial law is a temporary step to prevent violence and it will respect democratic institutions, including freedom of the press. “As you may know, martial law, the declaration of that is allowed for in the Thai constitution. But we’re certainly closely watching what’s happening on the ground, and we’ll continue to make evaluations of what’s happening,” Psaki told a regular press briefing. Human Rights Watch’s Asia advocacy director in Washington, John Sifton, said it was concerned the U.S. response amounted to de facto acceptance of the army seizing power from the civilian administration. “Instead of making excuses for the Thai military, or offering misplaced legal justifications, the US should be calling for martial law to be ended,” he said. via US won’t impose sanctions on Thailand | Thai PBS English News. View the full article
  15. BANGKOK (AFP) – Some snatched selfies with armed soldiers but most passers-by barely blinked as troops and jeeps mounted with machine-guns took to Bangkok’s streets early on Tuesday, a peculiarly pragmatic Thai response to political upheaval. Traffic-halting marches, sandbagged bunkers and sporadic violence have become commonplace in a struggle lasting almost seven months to overthrow the government, leaving the majority of Bangkok residents broadly inured to the turmoil. Three soldiers wearing flak jackets and carrying machine guns stood by a military jeep at one downtown intersection early on Tuesday, politely posing for photographs with commuters as news spread of the military’s declaration of martial law. A smattering of bemused tourists peered at the troops at the Ratchaprasong junction, a major shopping district which includes high-end hotels. It is also a highly symbolic site after a military crackdown on a “Red Shirt” protest in 2010 left scores dead there. Monday was the fourth anniversary of the crackdown. via Thailand martial law: Thais unfazed by military presence. View the full article