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Paper airplane, or paper tiger?

BANGKOK — Maybe the Thai government shouldn’t have deemed 12-year-old Mong Thongdee a security threat. That was the declaration that — in the public’s eye, at least — seemed to pit stodgy officials against adolescent dreams.

Rock 'N Roll PsyOps

Mop-haired, swoon-worthy pop star Dan Worrawech has a message for the youth of Thailand. Actually so does Pod, laidback crooner with the Thai alt-rock trio Moderndog. As does Ad Carabao, Southeast Asia’s scraggly answer to Bruce Springsteen. Who has the power to assemble this perfect trifecta of coolness: the heartthrob, the indie dude and the mass-appeal classic rocker? And what message have they joined forces to deliver?

Attention Sweden: Be Wary of Committing to the "Wai"

I was amused to read that a Swedish politician is suggesting that all Swedes -- or at least all of Swedish parliament -- should retire the handshake in favor of the traditional Thai greeting. For the uninitiated, that would be the "wai," a slight, graceful bow performed with clasped hands. The idea is that -- because the wai involves no physical contact -- it's more desirable in the era of swine flu.

On Location: Bangkok — Heal Thailand with love

A World of Trouble: Is the nightmare over?

With signs of economic recovery finally emerging, here's where things stand in 20 countries.

News analysis: Malaysian model drinks beer, asks to be caned

News analysis: The wacky story of the week comes from, where else, Asia?

Disaffected Thai protesters: Hot or not?

As Thailand's red-vs.-yellow political factions have quarreled over the kingdom's future, I've heard arguments based on economics, justice, national stability and a lot else. But every now and then, on the web at least, their argument deteriorates to this: Which band of street protesters has the best-looking ladies?

The great elephant exodus

Bangkok's governor promises an elephant-free city by next summer. Fat chance?

The sunny side of Suu Kyi's sentence

Several hours ago, Aung San Suu Kyi, the face of Burma's beleaguered democracy movement, was sentenced to 18 more months of house arrest in a military trial. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will tell you that's bad. Practically every Western head of state, actually, will tell you that's bad. So will those who've been imprisoned or exiled for pursuing democracy in Burma, which remains tightly controlled by an isolated military regime. Now, with that out of the way, consider that it could have been much worse.

Meet the economic gangsters

The dismal science of economics is, by most definitions, about finding the most efficient allocation of resources. And that goes for individuals, companies, governments and — yes — criminals. Edward Miguel is an expert on that last category. He's the co-author, with Raymond Fisman, of “Economic Gangsters: Corruption, Violence and the Poverty of Nations.” Published in late 2008, the authors use new data, innovative number-crunching and various pattern recognition models to plumb the worlds of kleptocrats, corruption, black marketeers and violence.
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