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Monday
July 2020
11:53 AM IST
News Headlines
Former India cricketer Chetan Chauhan tests positive for COVID-19        West Indies beats England as international cricket returns        Rahul again targets Modi for Eastern Ladakh face-off with China        Aishwarya, daughter Aaradhya test positive for coronavirus        More cities to come under lockdown as India''s COVID tally surges to nearly 8.5 lakh        Pope Francis saddened by Turkey''s move to convert Hagia Shophia into mosque        Russia''s Sechenov University completes trials of Coronavirus vaccine        Trump wears mask on camera for first time as he visits military hospital        Kerala has become ''hub'' of smuggling gold, alleges Chennithala        Kerala reports 435 new COVID-19 cases, tally rises to 7,873        2 key accused in gold smuggling case remanded to judicial custody        488 cases in Kerala, Infection tally touches 7438; 2 deaths        Gold smuggling case: Swapna, Sandeep taken into custody by NIA        Amitabh Bachchan tests COVID-19 positive, hospitalised        Hardik Patel appointed working president of Gujarat Congress        TN records 3,965 new COVID-19 cases,69 deaths        Why is Modi scared of disclosing names of those who donated to PM Cares, asks Rahul        Trump commutes friend Roger Stone''s sentence        Ruling People''s Action Party reelected in Singapore        5 killed in hostage situation at church in South Africa        
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International News
Thai court dissolves Shinawatra-linked party over princess PM bid
 
Bangkok: A key party linked to Thailand''s powerful Shinawatra clan was dissolved Thursday by a court, just weeks before a general election, over its ill-starred bid to front a princess as a candidate for premier. Thai Raksa Chart, which is tied to ex-premiers Thaksin and Yingluck Shinawatra, proposed Princess Ubolratana as its prime ministerial candidate if its bloc emerged with a lower house majority after the March 24 election.

It was an unprecedented move in a constitutional monarchy where royals are officially above the political fray, and prompted a rare public rebuke by her younger brother, King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who issued a royal command declaring the party''s move "inappropriate". Thai Raksa Chart was found guilty of committing an act "hostile to the constitutional monarchy" by the nine-member Constitutional Court, which unanimously voted to dissolve the party. Party executives -- including two Shinawatra family members -- were also banned from politics for a decade.

"The monarchy is above politics and to maintain political neutrality, the king, the queen and princesses can never exercise political rights by casting votes," judge Nakharin Mektrairat said at the end of an extensive ruling. The princess reacted to the news on Instagram, where she posts regularly. "I have heard the news. It is sad and depressing," she said. Dissolution is a blow to the prospects of the powerful Shinawatras winning a parliamentary majority at the polls.

Thai Raksa Chart was established to back up the Shinawatras'' main political vehicle Pheu Thai, which won the 2011 elections with a landslide. Conversely, its downfall -- the party lasted just four months -- is a major fillip to its army-allied rivals who are fielding current junta leader Prayut Chan-O-Cha as their candidate for premier. Thai Raksa Chart was set to compete in 174 constituencies with 108 candidates vying for seats through the party list -- a system to allocate extra parliamentary seats according to the proportion of votes they scoop up.

Grim-faced party executives, all dressed in black suits and led by party chief Preechapol Pongpanich, filed out of the Constitutional Court through the ranks of media. Fighting back tears, Preechapol told reporters the party was "extremely saddened" by the dissolution, a ruling which "will affect the rights and freedoms" of candidates and voters. The same court has disbanded two other parties linked to the Shinawatra dynasty -- and toppled two of its prime ministers -- in the last 13 years of political turmoil since Thaksin was booted from office by a coup in 2006.

The legal moves were "deja vu", said political analyst Thitinan Pongsudhirak of Chulalongkorn University, in a country trapped in a spin-dryer of short-lived civilian governments, bloody street protests and coups. The last army power grab toppled Thaksin''s sister Yingluck in 2014. There were tears among the smattering of die-hard Shinawatra supporters gathered near the court. "Can we have democracy? We have fought for it for more than 10 years," Oye, 51, told AFP, giving only one name.

Thais have powered Shinawatra-linked parties to government at every poll since 2001 only to be knocked down by the courts and coups. Pheu Thai''s electoral dominance was cast into doubt by a new electoral system designed by the junta to limit the number of seats it can win. The Shinawatras have one other party called Pheu Chart for supporters to transfer some votes. But Thursday''s court ruling raises the odds of a broad -- and potentially uncomfortable -- pro-democracy alliance as the only route back to power for the Shinawatras.

Future Forward, a new party whose billionaire leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit is an acerbic critic of the junta but not an natural ally of Thaksin, is emerging as an untested force at the polls. With 18 days to go, tension is rising. The country remains deeply divided between those who loathe the military and fear its return to office after elections, and the anti-Thaksin camp. Thaksin''s enemies accuse him of toxifying Thai politics with corruption and nepotism. He has been in self-exile since 2008 to avoid jail, but still draws adoration from the rural poor for his economic and welfare policies in a society with a chasmic wealth gap.


Pope Francis saddened by Turkey''s move to convert Hagia Shophia into mosque
Russia''s Sechenov University completes trials of Coronavirus vaccine
Trump wears mask on camera for first time as he visits military hospital
Trump commutes friend Roger Stone''s sentence
Ruling People''s Action Party reelected in Singapore
5 killed in hostage situation at church in South Africa
Indian-origin journalist Kailash Budhwar dies in UK
12 people killed, 19 missing in Nepal landslides
Seoul mayor canceled meeting with South Korean prime minister hours before death
China warns of ''unknown pneumonia'' deadlier than COVID-19 in Kazakhstan
Missing Mayor found dead in north Seoul
Heavy rain hits scenic central Japan, more damage in south
Trump threatens to cut federal aid if schools don't reopen
Pak PM urges world community to share info on COVID-19 strategies as tally rises to 239,225
Brazilian Prez Jair Bolsonaro tests positive for COVID-19
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China criticizes US joint carrier drills in South China Sea
Pakistan''s health minister tests positive for COVID-19
800,000 Indians may be forced to leave Kuwait after the Gulf country approves expat quota bill
ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
My whole life has been a miracle: Rajinikanth
 Mumbai: From starting out as a bus conductor to becoming one of the biggest stars of the: country,  
'Game of Thrones' star Indira Varma tests positive for coronavirus
Coronavirus: Release of Ranveer Singh-starrer '83' put on hold
'Joker' earns Joaquin Phoenix his maiden Oscar
KERALA NEWS
Kerala has become ''hub'' of smuggling gold, alleges Chennithala
 Kochi: Sharpening his attack against the CPI(M)-led LDF government over the sensational gold smuggli
Kerala reports 435 new COVID-19 cases, tally rises to 7,873
488 cases in Kerala, Infection tally touches 7438; 2 deaths
Youth outfits of parties clash with police, demand CM''s resignation
NATIONAL NEWS
Rahul again targets Modi for Eastern Ladakh face-off with China
 New Delhi: Targetting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday
Aishwarya, daughter Aaradhya test positive for coronavirus
More cities to come under lockdown as India''s COVID tally surges to nearly 8.5 lakh
Amitabh Bachchan tests COVID-19 positive, hospitalised
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