King’s birthday marks time-out in Thailand’s game of thrones – Christian Science Monitor

BANGKOK – Hundreds of thousands of Thais lined the streets of Bangkok on Wednesday to see King Bhumibol Adulyadej make a rare public speech to mark his 85th birthday. “My heart feels so good today seeing His Majesty,” says Penpat Thaweekul, one of the vast royal-supporting yellow-clad crowd waiting under a hot sun to catch a glimpse of the now-frail king speaking from a distant balcony. The world’s longest-sitting monarch is portrayed as a widely-revered apolitical father-figure – but even with this representation, there are lines Thailand’s elected politicians cannot cross. Though the royal institution once enjoyed a near-universal respect, recent polarization has raised questions about that role and about the country’s future after his reign. After the king’s reign, “the royalist domination in politics will be in disarray, for sure,” says historian Thongchai Winichakul. The rest, he says is unclear, wondering, “Will their power decline or will they take a tighter control during the transition?”

Thailand’s lese-majeste law fuels calls for reform – Los Angeles Times

 http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-thailand-law-20120320,0,1467171.story http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/la-fg-thailand-law-20120320,0,3091724.story Opponents say the law is used to intimidate critics and stifles free speech. But some royalists fear...

Thai court sentences American citizen to 2.5 years in prison for insulting monarchy – Christian Science Monitor

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-Pacific/2011/1208/Thai-court-sentences-American-citizen-to-2.5-years-in-prison-for-insulting-monarchy BANGKOK – US citizen Joe Gordon was sentenced to 2-1/2 years jail today for translating a banned biography of...

Some relief for Thailand’s freedom of speech advocates – South China Morning Post

http://www.scmp.com/portal/site/SCMP/menuitem.2af62ecb329d3d7733492d9253a0a0a0/?vgnextoid=88e4e6f07226e210VgnVCM100000360a0a0aRCRD&ss=Asia+%26+World&s=News Simon Roughneen in Bangkok – Freedom of speech has long been under scrutiny in Thailand, thanks to the country’s...