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Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.


Thaksin to Thai king: Pardon me?

Thailand’s billionaire former PM Thaksin Shinawatra has appealed to the country’s king for a pardon just days after being jailed upon his highly anticipated return to the country.

The background: In the early 2000s, Thaksin struck a populist chord to win a slew of elections, and was PM until he was ousted in a 2006 military coup that drove him into exile. Last week, he returned home for the first time since then, only to be jailed on charges of corruption and abuse of power.

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A man is seen with face paint reading "cancel lèse-majesté law" during a protest in Bangkok, Thailand.

Phobthum Yingpaiboonsuk / SOPA I via Reuters Connect

Thai opposition on 112: Political pragmatism or cop-out?

On Monday, an alliance of Thai opposition forces led by the progressive Move Forward Party signed a pact outlining their goals as a future coalition government. These include rewriting the constitution to clip the military's political power, breaking up business monopolies, and legalizing same-sex marriage.

But there was one glaring omission: reforming Thailand’s draconian lèse-majesté laws, which can put you behind bars for up to 15 years if you diss the monarchy.

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A mock 10 baht banknote bearing an illustration of a yellow duck instead of the Thai king or his predecessor is pictured in Bangkok on Nov. 25, 2020.

Kyodo via Reuters Connect

Hard Numbers: Thai royal canard, Biden’s deficit plan, Japan’s gender pay gap, golden Odin, Greek walkout

2: Prepare to read the next sentence twice. A man in Thailand is facing two years in jail for selling calendars of … rubber ducks. The squeaky fowl has long been a symbol of the country’s pro-democracy movement, and since these birds were dressed in royal regalia, authorities say they insulted the monarchy. The country’s defamation laws have been used to convict 200 people since 2020.

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Will these world leaders keep their resolutions?

Let's be honest, who knows if 2021 will really be a better year than 2020.

On the one hand, you might say, "how could next year possibly be worse than this one?" On the other, 2020 has taught us that things can always — always — get worse.

But either way, YOU can always be a better YOU, and world leaders are, in principle, no different. Here's a look at the pledges that several world leaders are already making for the new year.

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