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New Criminal Court division set up to tackle human trafficking crimes

Thailand is setting up a new division within the Criminal Court solely to handle human trafficking cases as police announced they will conclude their investigation into human trafficking gangs and forward their report to the attorney general by the end of this month.
Thailand is setting up a new division within the Criminal Court solely to handle human trafficking cases as police announced they will conclude their investigation into human trafficking gangs and forward their report to the attorney general by the end of this month.
 
The new criminal court division, a measure that had been considered earlier, is the latest step the government has taken in its broad-based campaign to put an end to human trafficking.

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Major drug bust in Northern Thailand

Police seized nearly 90,000 speed pills, crystal methamphetamines and over US$150 million in assets during a crackdown on drug trafficking networks in Chiang Rai last week, as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime announced it will work with Thailand and countries in the region to prevent the smuggling of precursor chemicals used to manufacture illegal narcotics.
Police seized nearly 90,000 speed pills, crystal methamphetamines and over US$150 million in assets during a crackdown on drug trafficking networks in Chiang Rai last week, as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime announced it will work with Thailand and countries in the region to prevent the smuggling of precursor chemicals used to manufacture illegal narcotics. 
 
Authorities from the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, provincial police and the Pha Muang Task Force, a military unit, participated in the Chiang Rai raids, which took place at severa

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Ancient stupas discovered in Petchabun province

Archaeologists uncovered 24 Buddhist stupas they believe are about 1,300 years old in a national historical park in central Petchabun province last week, the latest find in a yearlong excavation of the area. The stupas are believed to have been built during the Dvaravati era, a kingdom that predated Thai kingdoms in Southeast Asia.
Archaeologists uncovered 24 Buddhist stupas they believe are about 1,300 years old in a national historical park in central Petchabun province last week, the latest find in a yearlong excavation of the area.  The stupas are believed to have been built during the Dvaravati era, a kingdom that predated Thai kingdoms in Southeast Asia.
 
Researchers consider the site to be the most complete religious center from that era ever uncovered in Thailand.  They believe it was used for both Buddhist and Brahmin ceremonies and worship.

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Trafficked Thais return home, fishing vessels inspected

The Royal Thai Air Force brought home 68 Thai fishermen last week from the island of Ambon in Indonesia where they said they had been stranded after being trafficked onto trawlers and used as forced laborers, as government inspections of fishing vessels to prevent trafficking began in earnest at four key ports in Southern Thailand.
The Royal Thai Air Force brought home 68 Thai fishermen last week from the island of Ambon in Indonesia where they said they had been stranded after being trafficked onto trawlers and used as forced laborers, as government inspections of fishing vessels to prevent trafficking began in earnest at four key ports in Southern Thailand. 
 
“I never thought I would ever return to Thailand,’’ Phongsathon Bunon, a 19 year-old returnee told the Bangkok Post newspaper after clearing immigration at Don Muang airport in Bangkok on Thursday.

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Officials moving tigers out of famed tiger temple

Thailand’s government took strong action this month to protect wildlife as officials from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation began moving all 146 tigers from the country’s famed “Tiger Temple” to wildlife breeding centers and sanctuaries after repeated complaints the endangered cats were being abused.
Thailand’s government took strong action this month to protect wildlife as officials from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation began moving all 146 tigers from the country’s famed “Tiger Temple” to wildlife breeding centers and sanctuaries after repeated complaints the endangered cats were being abused.
 
The Department did not issue an official statement regarding the reason for the removal, but media reports indicated that a former monk from the temple had alerted authorities that three of its tigers had disappeared.

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Martial law lifted, business welcomes move

The Thai and foreign business communities welcomed Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s decision to lift martial law last week, saying it would improve business sentiment, while the government works to allay concerns expressed by human rights groups about the executive powers under the interim constitution.
The Thai and foreign business communities welcomed Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s decision to lift martial law last week, saying it would improve business sentiment, while the government works to allay concerns expressed by human rights groups about the executive powers under the interim constitution.
 
Prime Minister Prayut announced the decision to end martial law early last week, and the law was lifted on April 1.

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Prime Minister will act to solve air safety concerns

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said last week that he will use his broad power under the interim constitution to speed up all measures necessary to meet concerns raised by the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) over lack of capacity in Thailand’s Department of Civil Aviation, concerns that had been ignored by previous governments for a decade.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said last week that he will use his broad power under the interim constitution to speed up all measures necessary to meet concerns raised by the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) over lack of capacity in Thailand’s Department of Civil Aviation, concerns that had been ignored by previous governments for a decade. 
 
The ICAO, an arm of the United Nations, has not found any safety violations with any of Thailand’s airlines.

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Measures to improve gender equality and child protection

Thailand continued to take steps to improve the lives of its women and children as last week the country’s charter drafters approved a measure to promote greater representation for women in government and a key ministry said it would strengthen laws to protect children.
Thailand continued to take steps to improve the lives of its women and children as last week the country’s charter drafters approved a measure to promote greater representation for women in government and a key ministry said it would strengthen laws to protect children. 
 
With the goal of increasing gender equality in government, the Constitution Drafting Committee approved a clause that requires political parties to apportion one third of all their party list memberships to women.

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Songkran - a Festival Soaked in Tradition

The Songkran festival marks the ancient Thai New Year’s Day and used to take place on the 15th full moon. Today the festival is celebrated for three days starting on the 13th of April with the official New Year’s Day moved to the 1st of January.
The Songkran festival marks the ancient Thai New Year’s Day and used to take place on the 15th full moon. Today the festival is celebrated for three days starting on the 13th of April with the official New Year’s Day moved to the 1st of January.
 
The first day is a day of cleaning during which Thais clean their homes, bodies, and soul, which symbolizes the washing away of sins in preparation for the New Year. Traditionally Thais will visit their families and pour scented water into the palms of their elders.

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U-M launches world's first endowed chair of Thai Buddhism after $2M gift

The University of Michigan recently received a gift of $2 million to establish the Thai Professorship of Theravada Buddhism to enhance its Buddhist studies program -- one of the largest in North America.
The University of Michigan recently received a gift of $2 million to establish the Thai Professorship of Theravada Buddhism to enhance its Buddhist studies program -- one of the largest in North America.
 
This professorship, dedicated to the Thai tradition of Theravada Buddhism, is believed to be the first such chair in the world.
 
More than 150 million people worldwide follow Theravada Buddhism, the tradition of Buddhism practiced predominantly in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia and Laos.
 
The ch

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