LIVE: Rwandans vote in presidential and parliamentary elections

LIVE: Rwandans vote in presidential and parliamentary elections

LIVE: Rwandans vote in presidential and parliamentary elections

LIVE: Rwandans vote in presidential and parliamentary elections

LIVE: Rwandans vote in presidential and parliamentary elections

LIVE: Rwandans vote in presidential and parliamentary elections

BREAKING

Thailand Roundup: Same-sex marriage, economy, monarchy slander

Same-sex marriage legalised

Thailand's parliament made history on Tuesday, June 18, passing the landmark marriage equality bill, granting LGBTI+ couples the legal right to marriage and all its associated benefits. This monumental legislation ensures equal rights and recognition for all couples, regardless of gender identity or expression. Human rights organization Fortify Rights urges Thai authorities to take swift and decisive action to implement the law without delay, ensuring that LGBTI+ individuals can exercise their newfound rights without obstacles or discrimination. “Thailand’s new marriage equality law is a triumph for justice and human rights. The journey to this point has been long and fraught with challenges, but today’s vote to ensure marriage equality marks a historic moment that deserves celebration," said Mookdapa Yangyuenpradorn, Human Rights Associate at Fortify Rights as reported by Asia News Network.

Political challenges

Thailand is witnessing a significant week in politics, with four high-stakes cases unfolding. The Constitutional Court is reviewing two notable cases: one seeking to remove Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin from office, and another considering the dissolution of the Move Forward Party. Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has been summoned to court on charges of lese majeste related to a 2015 interview. Additionally, the Constitutional Court will decide on the constitutionality of the Organic Act governing senator selection. As reported by The Star, these developments have far-reaching implications, potentially eroding investor confidence, public trust, and national stability, thereby threatening to exacerbate Thailand's already fragile economic situation.

Former PM indicted for 'insulting' monarchy

Thailand's former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, a key supporter of the current government, has been formally charged with lese majeste for allegedly insulting the monarchy in a 2015 interview, according to the attorney general's office. This indictment is the first of four high-profile cases involving prominent political figures, including the current prime minister, set to be heard in court on Tuesday, June 18. According to The Sun, these legal proceedings have the potential to plunge Thailand into a new era of political uncertainty, exacerbating the long-standing divide between the conservative-royalist establishment and opposition parties like Pheu Thai and Move Forward. As Southeast Asia's second-largest economy teeters on the brink of instability, the outcome of these cases could have far-reaching implications for the country's future.

Art Institute of Chicago to return pilaster to Thailand

The Art Institute of Chicago is repatriating a 12th-century pilaster fragment, depicting Krishna lifting Mount Govardhana, to Thailand following rigorous research. Initially attributed to Cambodia, a specialist's thorough eight-month investigation, including examination, documentation, and a site visit, confirmed its origins at Thailand's Phantom Rung temple. The museum promptly contacted the Thai government to share these findings, initiating the artefact's return to its rightful home. “We have always said, if we learn new information that leads us to believe we should not have something, we will return it,” said Sarah Guernsey, the museum’s deputy director and senior vice president for curatorial affairs, in an email to the Sun-Times. “This is an example of us living up to that commitment.”

Tourism fee scrapped

Thailand's government, led by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, has abandoned a proposed policy to charge air travellers a tourism fee of 300 baht (US$8.20). The announcement was made by Thavisin on June 8 in Chiang Mai, signalling a shift in strategy for the tourism industry. "The fee ... was abandoned with the rationale that its elimination could encourage higher tourist spending in other areas, thereby providing a more substantial boost to the economy," Thailand's Government Public Relations Department said on its website on Monday, June 10 as reported by Thailand News.

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