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Wednesday
May 2019
6:24 AM IST
News Headlines
Hyundai Archery World Cup final to be held in Russia        Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz named in Pakistan''s World Cup squad        Uber partners with ICC for Men''s cricket World Cup 2019        Markets soar in early trade; Sensex zooms 942 points, rupee gains 79 paise        Lanka govt appeals to parents to send their children to school without fear        US delays implementation of Huawei trade ban by 90 days : Commerce Dept.        Swaraj to attend SCO foreign ministers meet in Bishkek from Tuesday        International calls diversion racket held in Telangana        Welcome decision to sack me as UP minister: Rajbhar        China "regrets" Security Council''s rejection of Russian-requested meeting on Ukraine        LS polls come to close; over 64 pc voting recorded in last phase        PM performs puja at Kedarnath after meditating for 17 hrs, will also visit Badrinath        Modi govt set to return to power, Exit polls predict        Exit polls gossip, don''t trust them: Mamata        S. Arabia calls GCC, Arab League meetings        Blast near tourist bus injures at least 17 in Egypt        Bravo, Pollard named in W Indies reserve players list for World Cup 2019        Opposition unity: Naidu meets Akhilesh, Mayawati over opposition unity post LS polls        I could be assassinated like Indira Gandhi, BJP after my life: Kejriwal        LS polls candidate attacked in Kerala        
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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.


Lanka govt appeals to parents to send their children to school without fear
US delays implementation of Huawei trade ban by 90 days : Commerce Dept.
S. Arabia calls GCC, Arab League meetings
Blast near tourist bus injures at least 17 in Egypt
UK gets new weapons act, secures Sikh right to carry kirpans
Austrian far-right leader resigns over ''Ibiza affair''
Afghan security forces killed in US strike in Helmand
Trump says he hopes for no war as US-Iran tensions escalate
Iran''s Zarif says ''no possibility'' of talks with US: Kyodo
Theresa May to confirm resignation date in June
US imposes visa restrictions on three senior Pakistani officials
Iran's supreme leader makes uranium enrichment threat
Hafiz Saeed's brother-in-law arrested in Pakistan
Several arrested as parts of Lanka remain under indefinite curfew after communal riots
Yemeni drones launch retaliatory raids against vital Saudi facilities: Al-Masirah
11 small Thai parties support army-backed candidate for PM
African police arrest 20 for suspected double voting in elections
At least 5 killed, over a dozen buried in mine collapse in western Indonesia
Lankan Catholics hold first Sunday mass since Easter attacks
5 persons, 3 militants killed in Gwadar hotel attack; Defence forces clear hotel of IEDs
ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
Cate Blanchett, Yvonne Strahovski to star in 'Stateless'
 Los Angeles: Cate Blanchett is set to feature in Australian TV psychological drama "Stateless".
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India moots tax breaks, refunds for foreign film units
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KERALA NEWS
LS polls candidate attacked in Kerala
 Kannur: Independent candidate from Vadakara Lok Sabha constituency and former CPI(M) local leader CO
Two women abort their plan to enter Lord Ayyappa temple Sabarimala
Kerala CM meets CEOs of leading business firms in Switzerland
Elephant to undergo medical test for Thrissur 'pooram'
NATIONAL NEWS
Swaraj to attend SCO foreign ministers meet in Bishkek from Tuesday
 New Delhi, May 20 (PTI) External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will attend a two-day meeting of the
International calls diversion racket held in Telangana
Welcome decision to sack me as UP minister: Rajbhar
LS polls come to close; over 64 pc voting recorded in last phase
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