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Video: Thai Protesters Drive Out Police

UPDATE: A military/police standoff in Bangkok with Thailand's Red Shirts protesters — who have sworn to drive out the government — has finally turned violent. Various outlets are reporting that more than 100 have been injured in clashes involving tear gas and rubber bullets.

Opinion: Thai protests highlight need for electoral reform

WASHINGTON — This week’s protests in Thailand are just the latest manifestation of growing political tension in the country, which is itself reflective of deep societal divides in the years since the 2006 coup. The political tension is exacerbated immeasurably by the way in which elections are adjudicated, and as tens of thousands of protesters continue to fill the streets demanding a variety of reforms, the importance of improvements to the electoral system becomes even more vital.

Thailand protests: Who’s in control of Bangkok?

BANGKOK, Thailand — For nearly a month, Thai protesters sworn to topple the government have occupied parts of Bangkok with indomitable swagger. Among their recent conquests: crashing through parliament gates and yanking guns from security forces, smearing the premier’s front gate with human blood, backing down troops ordered to defend a relay station broadcasting their anti-government satellite TV network.

Emergency in Bangkok's Gucci District

I clearly remember my first visit to Bangkok's Ratchaprasong district and its hyper-luxurious Siam Paragon mall. I sat by an indoor koi pond and took it all in: the second-floor Lamborghini dealership, the expanse of polished white floors, the milk-skinned girls with raven-black hair tottering on heels. If I wasn't busy wondering how they drove that Lamborghini to the second-floor, it might have occurred to me that this shopping paradise would be the ideal backdrop for class conflict.

Fat in Thailand: Thai-a-betes epidemic

BANGKOK, Thailand — Oil slicked Jay Muay’s wok, big as a satellite dish, spitting grease at a queue of hungry customers. First came scallions and tofu, sprinkled from above. Then eggs, beat into a canary-yellow goop. The street stall chef’s hands flew into double-time: with her left, she joggled the wok; with her right, she flicked in a few fat-bodied shrimp. Lastly, Jay Muay reached for her not-so-secret ingredient: processed sugar.

Laos: Welcome to the land of "snus"

VIENTIANE, Laos — There is a tell-tale bulge above Petter Svensson’s upper lip, and when the broad-shouldered Swede speaks, his face tightens to hold it in place. That pea-sized lump is “snus,” a pinch of moist tobacco better known to Americans as dip. “I always keep it my back pocket,” he explains, producing a plastic container from his jeans. Svensson pops the lid to reveal the contents: a solid cake of fudge-brown tobacco.

Rock the vote in Burma

BANGKOK, Thailand — On Burmese TV, the nation’s military junta supplies free health care, pop stars croon for ethnic unity and citizens are called on to crush the U.S. radio network Voice of America. Welcome to election season in one of the world’s most oppressive backwaters.

StreetLife: Laos, the Beer Republic?

In a nation that has know known only war and poverty in recent times, Beer Laos — half owned by the communist government and Carlsburg — is finally helping to build a corporate identity for the country. The result: "pretty decent beer" according to tourists and locals alike.

Video: Dousing Thai PM's Home in Human Blood

UPDATE: I've added some analysis from a  Thai academic sympathetic to Thailand's blood curse campaign below. Scroll down to read his thoughts on why the blood-splashing matters. My recent "Blood Curse" piece explains why Thai anti-establishment protesters are drawing their own blood, emptying it into buckets and splashing it on various government offices.

Thailand: Bangkok blood curse

BANGKOK, Thailand — Behind a wall of stone-faced soldiers, the crowd howled outside the gates of the Thai premier’s compound. “We will curse them, the aristocrats, the powerful people,” screamed Nattawut Saikua, a leader of a That anti-establishment street faction known as the Red Shirts. “We will curse them with our own blood!”
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