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Future Forward members gather to hear Constitutional Court’s verdict at 2pm

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Future Forward members gather to hear Constitutional Court’s verdict at 2pm | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The claim tried to connect Thailand's Future Forward party to the "Illuminati"
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Members and supporters of Thailand’s Future Forward Party are massing at the party’s headquarters in the on New Phetchaburi Road in Bangkok awaiting the Constitutional Court’s ruling on charges that it has engaged “in activities detrimental to the democratic system”. The case stems from a complain six months ago that Future Forward was involved in the imaginary “Illuminati” group, thought to want to overthrow the world’s monarchies.

Active in the 1700’s, the Illuminati were alleged to be a secret society behind campaigns to overthrow Europe’s monarchies and influence the American declaration of independence (in 1776). It has been a popular conspiracy theory directed at progressive democracies in recent decades.

The Future Forward party stands accused of attempting to undermine Thailand’s democratic system, as a constitutional monarchy. The charges stem from selected commentary from Future Forward executives, critical of the Thai monarchy. They also claim that the party’s political manifesto doesn’t specifically mention support for democracy under the monarchy.

The charges, which Future Forward leader Thanathorn Jungroongruangkit dismissed as “nonsense” when they were came out last July, were filed by Dr. Natthaporn Toprayoon, a Thai lawyer and a former advisor to the ombudsman’s office.

Today’s judgement will be a historical political case, both in terms of the evidence provided over the “Illuminati” case, and the impact it will have on the Future Forward party in Thailand.

The party has already announced that it will call a media conference after the court delivers its verdict this afternoon. Yesterday Amnesty International called on the Thai government to stop what it described as “legal intimidation” of the Future Forward Party. It wants to see all charges filed against the party withdrawn.

The verdict is scheduled to be handed down from 2pm today.

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Politics

US Ambassador to Thailand quits after Biden inaugurated

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US Ambassador to Thailand quits after Biden inaugurated | The Thaiger

The US Ambassador to Thailand seems to have quit after only serving less than 1 year in office and moments after President Biden’s inauguration. Michael George DeSombre, who was appointed by President Trump in early 2020, made the announcement of his departure on the embassy’s official social media platform yesterday. A day before, he met with PM Prayut to “thank the Royal Thai Government” as is customary with departing ambassadors. DeSombre succeeded career diplomat Glyn T. Davies.

“It has been a privilege serving as the United States Ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand. I am exceedingly proud of all we have done to strengthen the US-Thai relationship. I am signing off now from this account and leaving it in the good hands of our Embassy staff.”

Now, as the US Embassy official website names Chargé d’Affaires Michael Heath as its diplomatic mission leader, it is not known when a new ambassador will be chosen by the Biden administration.

Just last year in October, DeSombre wrote, on the same day that President Trump tested positive for the virus, that he was less than supportive of a full-blown shutdown.

“The evidence over the last six months shows that the costs of a really extreme shutdown are generally worse than the benefits and it is better to keep the economy running.”

According to Wikipedia, DeSombre co-founded Republicans Overseas for Americans abroad in 2013 in which the organisation focuses on tax reform. Upon his appointment as Ambassador, DeSombre stated that his office would primarily encourage the economic partnership between the two countries, with a focus on American investments and Thailand’s infrastructure projects and supply chains.

He has also said that US firms were interested in increasing investments in Thailand, including in areas under the 1966 Amity treaty. Thailand and the US established relations in 1818 and later formalised the ties in 1833.

SOURCE: Khaosod English

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

PM vows action against ‘not factual’ information on vaccine plan

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PM vows action against ‘not factual’ information on vaccine plan | The Thaiger

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha will order legal action against anyone who “distorts information” about the government’s Covid-19 vaccination plan after the banned opposition politician Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit had raised the topic of “Royal Vaccine: Who Benefits and Who Doesn’t?” on his Facebook Live feed on Monday.

On the Facebook Live, Thanathorn criticised the government’s vaccine procurement and production, commenting that the government is too slow in securing sufficient inoculations.

“Thailand pinned its hopes only on AstraZeneca which allowed local pharmaceutical manufacturer, Siam Bioscience, to produce its vaccine. The government had not held talks with other countries until Jan 3 when it announced it will buy 2 million doses of vaccines from Sinovac which is a very small quantity… enough for only 1.5% of the population.”

Siam Bioscience is a royally-sponsored company that has partnered AstraZeneca to produce the vaccines for Thailand and other countries in the region.

According to Dr Nakorn Premsiri, director of the National Vaccine Institute, Siam Bioscience invited the British-Swedish pharmaceutical group AstraZeneca to visit its plant to see whether it met the criteria required to produce the vaccine at a minimum of 200 million doses per year. The government approved 600 million baht to improve the plant’s facilities to produce the Covid-19 vaccine according to the requirements of AstraZeneca.

Responding to Thanathorn’s comment, the PM says he will order prosecution for anything “that is distorted and not factual” that gets published, whether in media or on social media and that he has to protect the government’s credibility from those who are “irresponsible” with their remarks.

SOURCE:Bangkok Post

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Politics

Companies pull out from Trump brand after storming of Capitol incident

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Companies pull out from Trump brand after storming of Capitol incident | The Thaiger

Corporate America is adding its weight in response to the insurgency at the Capitol building on January 6, and are pulling out from any association with the Trump brand after the storming of the capitol incidentwhich economists say will have a profound medium and long-term effect on his business interests. Recently, Signature Bank closed Trump’s personal accounts and the PGA of America stopped plans to hold its 2022 championship at Mr. Trump’s New Jersey golf course.

Such a parting of ways signals the business community’s weariness in being associated with a political figure that has attracted worldwide attention and is indicative of what may happen to the Trump brand. The president’s role in the incident, confirmed by his impeachment by the House this week, has gained criticism from the Business Roundtable to the AFL-CIO labour federation.

Michael D’Antonio, the author of a Trump biography, says the capitol incident has been a game-changer for the support of extreme politics.

“Trump’s name is really an albatross. He is the most disgraced president in history. This is a person who’s synonymous with a mob attacking the US Capitol. I just think this went a step too far.”

Other experts like Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, say Trump’s brand will inevitably suffer long-term.

“Before his term, Trump stood for wealth, success and over-the-top luxury. Now the brand has associations with anti-government views, racism and extremism. This makes the brand fairly toxic.”

Deutsche Bank, to which Trump reportedly owes around $400 million, is also planning to stop engaging in business with him. But the president dismissed any business challenges in an October 15 televised event by saying that the $400 million he owed was “a tiny percentage of my net worth.”

It appears true that some of Trump’s properties have benefitted from his presidency as taxpayer revenue has continuously flowed into his golf courses and clubs where he stays with his family, the secret service and the White House staff.

In fact, CREW estimates that Trump’s properties took in over $100 million from more than 500 visits by the president, according to a report in September 2020. But even that business transaction has received widespread criticism as many say Trump should not have mixed politics with his personal businesses.

D’Antonio predicts that Trump may sell current assets to pay off his Deutsche Bank debt, which means there could be fewer to none Trump hotels, golf courses or towers in the next 10 years.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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