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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        28 January 2011

Yellow shirts to Phnom Penh

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A group of Thai yellow shirt activists will travel to Phnom Penh on Monday for talks with government spokesman and Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith, a day ahead of the trial of a key Yellow Shirt figure.

Activist Veera Somkwamkid and his secretary, Ratree Taiputana Taiboon, are set to stand trial at Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday in a high-profile case that has strained diplomatic ties. "I'm not sure about the purpose of Mr. Veera's representatives requesting a meeting with me," Khieu Kanharith said today.

"Maybe they want to understand the Cambodian government's stance on the issue." The two were part of a group of seven Thais - including Panich Vikitsreth, a lawmaker from the country's ruling Democrat Party - who were arrested by Cambodian soldiers in Banteay Meanchey's O'Chrou district.

All seven were charged with illegal entry and unlawfully entering a military base. On January 21, five of the Thais were convicted on the charges and released after their nine-month jail sentences were suspended, bringing the case one step closer to a conclusion. Next week, Veera and his secretary will be tried on those charges, as well as an espionage charge which carries a punishment of up to 10 years in jai

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This year in Thailand-what next?

04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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