Local councillors persecuted for ‘too small’ king of Spain portrait


Portraits of king of Spain and of Catalonia in Torredembarra

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Spanish local councilors prosecuted for small royal portrait

Today, 19:32

The councilors of the Spanish town Torredembarra are prosecuted because of the size of the picture of King Felipe hanging in the council chamber. The official portrait is only slightly larger than a passport photo.

Torredembarra is in Catalonia, where many people strive for independence from Spain. Led by a left-wing party, the city council decided last August for the small portrait. All seventeen councilors must now justify that decision in court, says the prosecutor.

One of the council members calls the court case politically motivated. According to him, this picture is within the law which requires that there should be an official portrait in every council chamber.

“Prominent place”

The politician also points out that the portrait is as big as that of the Catalan government leader Mas. Under Spanish law, the image of the regional leader may not be bigger than that of the king.

He also says that the portrait is in a prominent place: over the entrance to the hall.

The councilors would suffer even worse persecution if they would have had this cartoon portrait in King Felipe.

Dutch author Judith Herzberg protests against king’s Argentine dictatorship links


Ms Judith Herzberg accepts the P.C. Hooft literature prize in 1997

This photo shows Dutch author Ms Judith Herzberg, when she accepted the P.C. Hooft literature prize for her poetry in 1997.

Ms Herzberg is from a Jewish family, and went into hiding from the nazi occupiers of the Netherlands as a child. Her parents were deported to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, but survived; contrary to Anne Frank and her sister Margot.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Judith Herzberg resigns at Resistance Museum in protest against king

Today, 08:08

Poet and playwright Judith Herzberg has resigned from the recommending committee of the Resistance Museum in Amsterdam. Her reason is the opening by King [Willem-Alexander] of the exhibition about political prisoners [in Dachau concentration camp] No numbers but names in April this year.

According to Herzberg, the museum should have asked someone else, because Willem-Alexander‘s father-in-law, Jorge Zorreguieta, is accused to have been involved in the disappearance of political prisoners in Argentina at the time of the Videla [military] regime. Herzberg resigned for that reason in August as a member of the committee of recommendation.

“I do not understand how he had the nerve to open this exhibition in the Resistance Museum,” Herzberg wrote in a letter that came into the hands of NRC Handelsblad daily. “He thought it was “an honour”? Didn’t he realize that this was an insult, especially in the Resistance Museum, to those who lost their lives? Doesn’t he see any parallel with the criminal regime in Argentina, when between 10 000 and 30 000 ‘numbers’ were made to disappear? And why did you ask especially him to open this exhibition? And talk with young people on that occasion? What should young people learn from that?”

Not in the Netherlands

Herzberg was at the time of the opening not in the Netherlands. That King Willem-Alexander had opened the exhibition, she heard later. After some thought, she decided that she did not want to be any longer on the recommendation committee, she says to the NOS.

Herzberg asked the chairman of the Resistance Museum, Hans Blom, to send the letter to the 24 other members of the committee of recommendation. Of these, three or four people responded, Blom told the newspaper. One person agreed with Herzberg. That was professor emeritus and former Director of Human Rights at the UN, Theo van Boven.

Years in jail for insulting Thai royal dog?


Men pose next to a 10-metre high dog statue, part of the promotional effort for a film based on Thai royal dog Tongdaeng's life. photo: NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Thai factory worker faces jail for insulting the king’s dog online

A best-selling book about the dog, named Tondaeng, describes her as a ‘respectful dog with proper manners’

Doug Bolton

A Thai factory worker could go to prison for a “sarcastic” post on social media in which he disparaged the king’s dog, Tongdaeng.

The worker, Thanakorn Siripaiboon, faces years in prison for his crimes, which include sedition and insulting the king.

As the New York Times reports, Siripaiboon’s lawyer, Anon Numpa, said the precise insult towards the dog was not specified in the military court where he was charged.

Siripaiboon is also accused of sharing a post on Facebook that alleged corruption in the construction of a monument to previous Thai kings.

The unusual case draws attention to the increasing harsh penalties handed to those who criticise the country’s king, queen, heir apparent or regent. Since a military coup in Thailand last year, authorities have been cracking down on any type of dissent.

Numpa still expressed surprise that the law that forbids criticism of the royals would be extended to the king’s dog, however.

Siripaiboon was arrested at his Bangkok home last week, and had his arraignment on Monday.

Tongdaeng, or Copper, was a stray rescued by Thailand’s ailing 88-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 1998.

A book, titled The Story of Tongdaeng, was written by the king in 2002 and became an instant bestseller in the country. An animated film, based on the stories in the book, also went to number two at the Thai box offices after its release last week.

In the book, Tongdaeng is described as a “respectful dog with proper manners,” who is also “humble” and “knows protocol.”

The book also notes that Tongdaeng respectfully droops her ears and lowers to the floor in the presence of the King.

According to Numpa, the next step in the case will be Siripaiboon’s indictment, but no date has yet been set by authorities.

The Bangkok-based printer of the International New York Times removed this story from the 14 December 2015 print edition of the paper: here.

LOVE YOUR SHRIMP? IT MAY HAVE BEEN PEELED BY SLAVES Modern-day slaves in Thailand may be providing your favorite seafood dish. [AP]

Slaves are used to peel and process shrimp that finds its way in to many major supermarkets and shrimp companies around the world, according to an investigative report by the Associated Press (AP) published last week. At Gig Peeling Factory in Samut Sakhon, Thailand, slaves work 16-hour days, waking up as early as 2 AM with the command, “Get up or get beaten.” Peeling shrimp in ice buckets, small children work alongside their parents, often crying, as their cold hands become numb in the troughs of shrimp: here.

Thai crown prince’s poodle, Air Chief Marshal Foo Foo, has been cremated. Death has prompted surge in coded social media comments on the subject, in a country where it is illegal to openly discuss royal succession: here.