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MediaWATCH: Early Poll 'Still an Option'

MediaWATCH: Early Poll 'Still an Option'

Wednesday, May 27, 2009
wsj.com Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, whose coalition government is looking increasingly fragile because of infighting, said he would not rule out early elections this year once the support measures for the economy are in place. Khun Abhisit said his government would work to cut corporate and personal taxes to help strengthen Thailand's competitiveness in the region. He maintained that Thailand would return to economic growth in the fourth quarter despite gross domestic product shrinking 7.1 percent year-to-year in the first quarter, largest decline since the 1997-98 Asian economic crisis.Khun Abhisit also expressed concern over the recent strength of the baht against the dollar and its potential negative impact on Thailand's competitiveness.

guardian.co.uk Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese opposition leader, has told a court that she had no prior knowledge of an American man's plan to visit her home in Rangoon and had not broken the terms of her house arrest. She faces up to five years in prison for allowing John Yettaw to spend two days at her lakeside compound earlier this month. She has already spent 13 of the last 19 years in detention. According to sources from the court, asked whether she reported his visit immediately to authorities, she answered: ''No, I did not.'' Suu Kyi said she gave Yettaw ''temporary shelter'' and that he left just before midnight on the same day.

bangkokpost.com More pressure is being piled on Burma as Asian and European foreign ministers renew their calls for the release of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners.A joint media statement, issued at the end of the Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem) in Hanoi, called for the early release of all political detainees in Burma, including Mrs Suu Kyi, and the lifting of all restrictions placed on political parties.The statement also urged the Burmese government to hold multi-party elections next year in a free and fair manner.

New York Times Incoming foreign money has become scarce because of the global economic crisis, so the second-home market in Phuket and Pattaya has halted. The exception: Hua Hin, which has remained a popular second-home destination for wealthy Thais. Homes priced below 10 million baht (about $290,000) are selling. David Gray, the director of East Coast Real Estate, based in Pattaya, said second homes in Phuket cost about twice as much as comparable homes in Pattaya, because Phuket is an island and developable land is more limited. More second-home owners are moving away from the beach resorts and into the countryside, many building retirement homes.

The Nation The Cabinet has approved a draft of ministrial regulation which would allow logos of alcohol beverages to appear on television advertisements not more than two seconds. The regulations were issued in accordance with Alcohol Beverages Control Act which prohibits presence of images of alcohol products in any advertisements.

independent.co.uk Extract from a Human Rights Watch report: ''Asean's failure to adequately address the issue reflected a long-standing disregard for the treatment of the Rohingya. The lack of urgency showed that the claims by Burma and many of its neighbours that the Rohingya pose a threat to national security are a smokescreen. In terms of generalised and systemic oppression of their most basic rights, the suffering of the Rohingya is about as bad as it gets.Other people in this situation often have homes they can return to, but for these people, they have nowhere they are welcome. That sense of home is being denied them. It is a terrible plight.''

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