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Ron Corben

Thai Political Uncertainty Causes Investor Concern

Thailand's finance minister says the political uncertainty gripping the country could damage economic growth and investor confidence.  Some investors are concerned a Thai Supreme Court verdict against former Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, due later this week could lead to protests that could destabilize the fragile economy. Thai Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij warned Monday that political uncertainties in the country could adversely affect economic growth. Korn's comments come just ahead of a Friday Supreme Court verdict on whether former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is

Thailand Prepares for Fresh Wave of Protests Ahead of Thaksin Court Verdict

Anti-government protesters in Thailand vow to step up pressure on the government and the Supreme Court ahead of a crucial ruling involving former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Protesters are expected to gather Friday in Bangkok, in front of Thailand's anti-corruption commission, in the first stage of a campaign against the government. The main anti-government group, the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship, plans a series of protests throughout the country over the next several weeks.

Thai Government, UN, Civic Groups Look to Protect Burma Refugees

Civic and refugee activist groups hope talks with the Thai government will ensure the safety of Karen refugees from Burma who face deportation. Talks Wednesday between civic groups and Thailand's Human Rights Commission came after strong efforts by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, diplomats and rights groups prevented the deportation of 1,700 Karen. The Thai military last Friday tried to push the Karen back to Burma, which they fled last year to avoid fighting between Karen rebels and the Burmese military. Soe Aung, a Burmese activist, says now it is important for refu

Thai Army's Show of Force Seen as Warning to Supporters of Former PM

Political tensions are again on the rise in Thailand as the date for a court verdict concerning former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra nears.  Rumors of a military coup continue to sweep the country, despite denials by senior commanders. Several gatherings of military leaders in recent days have added to political tensions in Thailand. Political analysts here say the army appears concerned about possible violence ahead of a court verdict involving former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Over recent days, Bangkok news media have been flooded with speculation of a possible coup.

Thailand Begins Repatriation to Laos of Hmong Migrants

The Thai government rejects accusations by the international community that thousands of Lao Hmong refugees were being forcibly sent back to Laos.  The Thai military carried out the deportation under tight security.   The deportation of 4,000 Hmong to Laos began in the early hours of Monday with convoys of military trucks and buses ferrying people to the border.   Human rights groups fear the Hmong, who have been held at the Huay Nam Khao refugee camp, will be persecuted once they return to Laos.   The U.S.

UN Reports Rise in Opium Cultivation in Burma

United Nations officials say opium cultivation in Burma rose for the third straight year as ethnic rebel groups sell drugs to buy arms. The increase reverses past successes in cutting opium cultivation in Southeast Asia.   The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime - UNODC - said Monday that opium poppy cultivation in Burma rose more than 10 percent in 2009 - the third successive year of growth.   The agency's latest report covering Thailand, Laos and Burma says the area poppies are cultivated on around 31,700 hectares.

Thai-Cambodia Dispute Raises Nationalist Sentiment in Bangkok

The dispute between Thailand and Cambodia over a visit to Phnom Penh by Thailand's former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, is drawing Thais to the streets. The visit has prompted an anti-Thaksin rally in Bangkok, and there are expectations of more protests. A crowd of around 15,000 people listens to nationalist songs and speeches attacking former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. They gathered in a Bangkok park Sunday to protest Mr. Thaksin's arrival in Cambodia last week, and Phnom Penh's rejection of Bangkok's request to extradite him. Mr.