Archive for the ‘airports’ Category

Thailand’s Polical Turmoil Continues; King Fails To Appear

December 4, 2008

Thailand‘s revered king on Thursday failed to deliver his traditional birthday speech, dashing Thai hopes that the address would help resolve the country’s political paralysis and unify a divided nation.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who turns 81 on Friday, was unable to deliver the speech “because he was a little sick,” his son, Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, told dignitaries gathered at the Dusit Palace to hear the king. The comments were broadcast live on radio.

By VIJAY JOSHI and AMBIKA AHUJA, Associated Press Writers

Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadaj  reviews the Royal Guards ... 
Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadaj reviews the Royal Guards at the Royal Plaza Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008, in Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand’s ailing king failed to deliver his traditional speech to the nation Thursday Dec. 4, 2008 on the eve of his 81st birthday because of ill health — a stunning development that is likely to deepen the country’s political paralysis.(AP Photo/David Longstreath)

While the king is known to be unwell, he was not expected to miss such an important occasion. The news came as a shock in this Southeast Asian nation of 63 million people, who revere the king as a selfless humanitarian. Many people wear yellow, the king’s color, once a week as a mark of respect and affection for the beloved monarch.

“The king has said to thank (you) for the wishes given out of loyalty. He wants to return the good wishes. He wants everyone to have strong mental and physical health to perform their duties for the public,” Vajiralongkorn said.

Many Thais were eagerly awaiting the king’s speech, hoping to receive guidance on how Thailand can resolve its political crisis triggered by an anti-government group whose members seized two main airports for a week.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081204/ap_on_re_as/as_thailand_political_unrest

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Thai Government Brought Down!

December 2, 2008

After months of drama, standoff, protests and violence, a court dissolved Thailand‘s top three ruling parties for electoral fraud Tuesday and temporarily banned the prime minister from politics….

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The Constitutional Court ruling set the stage for thousands of protesters to end their weeklong siege of the country’s two main airports, but also raised fears of retaliatory violence by a pro-government group that could sink the country deeper into crisis and cripple its economy.

By AMBIKA AHUJA, Associated Press Writer

In this Dec. 1, 2008 file photo, Thai Prime Minister Somchai ...
Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat, left, is seen at a Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai province, northern Thailand. Somchai says Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008 he has accepted a court ruling to step down because of electoral fraud committed by his political party. Somchai told reporters in the northern city of Chiang Mai the court’s verdict was ‘not a problem. I was not working for myself. Now I will be a full-time citizen.’ (AP Photo/Wichai Taprieu, File)

Members of the People’s Alliance for Democracy, occupying Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi international airport, cheered and hugged after they heard news of the verdict.

“My heart is happy. My friends are very happy,” said Pailin Jampapong, a 41-year-old Bangkok housekeeper choking back tears as she jumped up and down.

Government spokesman Nattawut Sai-kau said Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat and his six-party ruling coalition would step down.

“We will abide by the law. The coalition parties will meet together to plan for its next move soon,” he told The Associated Press.

He also said the government was postponing a regional summit in Thailand of Southeast Asian countries, from December to March.

Somchai had become increasingly isolated in recent weeks. Neither the army, a key player in Thai politics, nor the country’s much revered king had offered him firm backing. Since Wednesday, he and his Cabinet had been working out of the northern city of Chiang Mai, a government stronghold.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081202/ap_on_re_
as/as_thailand_political_unrest;_ylt=Atg1aR
xn4VA9BKzrX3Mdmbas0NUE

Thai Court Disbands Ruling Party
 

BBC

A Thai court has ruled that PM Somchai Wongsawat must step down over election fraud, a ruling he has accepted.

His governing People Power Party and two of its coalition partners have been ordered to disband and the parties’ leaders have been barred from politics.

But it is unclear if the ruling ends a months-long political crisis, since other coalition MPs have vowed to form another government under a new name.

Earlier, an anti-government protester was killed at a Bangkok airport.

Local television reported that a grenade had been fired at Don Mueang airport, the capital’s domestic hub, which has been occupied by the anti-government People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) since last week.

Government supporters later surround the constitutional court complex (2 December 2008)

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7759960.stm

Thai government demotes national police chief

November 28, 2008

Thailand‘s government demoted the national police chief on Friday after he failed to end a siege of the capital’s airports by anti-government protesters.

By AMBIKA AHUJA and CHRIS BLAKE, Associated Press Writers

Hundreds of demonstrators, demanding the government’s ouster, stormed Suvarnabhumi international airport on Tuesday and took over the smaller Don Muang domestic airport a day later. The capital remains completely cut off from air traffic, stranding thousands of travelers and dealing severe blows to the economy.

Government spokesman Nattawut Sai-Kau said National Police Chief Gen. Pacharawat Wongsuwan has been moved to an inactive post in the prime minister’s office.

Nattawut declined to comment on the order, issued by Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat.

It was not clear if Pacharawat was removed because the police failed to evict the protesters, but it could be because he apparently made no attempt to negotiate a peaceful end to the crisis, as the government had asked.

Interior Minister Kowit Wattana met with police at a precinct near Suvarnabhumi on Friday.

About 200 police, carrying riot gears and shields, were seen outside airport offices, which are about 400 yards (meters) from the terminal where the protesters are camped out.

The airport takeover capped months of demonstrations by the protesters, who belong to the People’s Alliance for Democracy. They took over the prime minister’s office three months ago, virtually paralyzing the government.

They say they won’t give up until the government steps down.

“We are ready to defend ourselves against any government’s operations to get us out of those places,” said Parnthep Wongpuapan, an alliance spokesman.

Thailand’s Crisis; Government Rejects Army Call To Go

November 26, 2008
Thailand’s army chief told the government on Wednesday to step down and call a snap election as a way out of a political crisis threatening to spiral out of control after a gang shot dead an anti-government activist.
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Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat, who has rejected army chief Anupong Pachinda’s call to dissolve parliament, will address the nation on television at around 9 p.m. (1400 GMT), his chief of staff told Reuters.

Somchai returned to Thailand from an Asia-Pacific summit to find tempers flaring across the country and threatening to explode into civil unrest.

A gang of government supporters in the northern city of Chiang Mai shot dead an anti-government activist on Wednesday, the first serious violence outside Bangkok.

By Nopporn Wong-Anan, Reuters
Wednesday, November 26, 2008; 9:39 AM

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content
/article/2008/11/26/AR2008112600470.html?hpi
d=topnews

Once hostile Taiwan, China set to sign more deals

October 31, 2008

Negotiators for China and Taiwan will meet next week, as Beijing sends its highest-level official in decades to the self-ruled island that it claims as its own to sign a list of deals over a din of protests.

The November 3-7 talks mark another thaw in relations between the two sides since Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou took office in May on pledges to improve the island’s economy by getting a piece of China’s booming markets.

By Ralph Jennings, Reuters

Negotiators for China and Taiwan will meet next week, as Beijing sends its highest-level official in decades to the self-ruled island that it claims as its own to sign a list of deals over a din of protests.

The November 3-7 talks mark another thaw in relations between the two sides since Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou took office in May on pledges to improve the island’s economy by getting a piece of China’s booming markets.

A plane flies past the entrance of the Grand Hotel, which is ...
plane flies past the entrance of the Grand Hotel, which is the location of the upcoming talks between the mainland and Taiwan, in Taipei October 31, 2008.(Nicky Loh/Reuters)

China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since 1949, when Mao Zedong’s Communists won the Chinese civil war and Chiang Kai-shek‘s KMT fled to the island. Beijing has vowed to bring Taiwan under its rule, by force if necessary.

“Symbolically, the meeting is important because it conveys a message from the Chinese government and leadership that they are supporting this process to enhance interaction,” said Andrew Yang, secretary-general of the Taiwan think tank, China Council of Advanced Policy Studies.

“It’s also conducive to (President) Ma’s commitment to keeping peace,” he said.

Chen Yunlin, Beijing’s top negotiator on Taiwan affairs, will lead a 60-person team to the island on Monday.

During the week, he and Taiwan counterpart P.K. Chiang will negotiate shortening routes for direct flights, which started in July following landmark two-way talks in Beijing after a decades-long ban due to security concerns.

They also aim to add six new Chinese airports to the destination list and allow daily direct flights, up from four days a week now.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081031/wl_nm/us_taiwan_china_1