Dictatorship’s referendum in Thailand


This video says about itself:

Thai prime minister threatens to ‘execute’ journalists

25 March 2015

Thailand’s military leader has lashed out at journalists saying he would “probably just execute” those who did “not report the truth”, in the latest outburst aimed at Thailand‘s media.

“We’ll probably just execute them,” Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Wednesday, when asked by reporters how the government would deal with those that do not adhere to the official line.

“You don’t have to support the government, but you should report the truth,” the former army chief said, telling reporters to write in a way that bolsters national reconciliation in the kingdom.

Prayuth, who is also prime minister, heads the ruling military junta or National Council for Peace and Order. He toppled the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in a coup last May, that followed months of protests aimed at ousting Yingluck.

Prayuth launched a crackdown on dissenters after seizing power in May. He has said Thailand is not ready to lift martial law, which gives the army sweeping powers, including for arrest and detention.

‘Notoriously hot-headed’

Bob Dietz, coordinator of the Committee to Protect Journalists‘ Asia Programme, condemned Prayuth’s statement saying, the Thai leader “is being more than just gruff here, it’s a threat”.

“He is notoriously hot-headed, and prone to outbursts like this,” Dietz said in a comment to Al Jazeera.

“Last September he announced a one-year plan to overcome the deep political fault lines in Thailand. So far the plan seems to just be to tell everyone to just be quiet and stop being critical of the government and each other.”

In January the junta forced a German foundation to cancel a forum on press freedom saying Thailand was at a sensitive juncture. Since taking power, the junta has made full use of martial law, which also bans all political gatherings.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Thailand: Junta asks voters to back negation of democracy

Saturday 6th August 2016

THAILAND’S voters will be asked to decide tomorrow on a new constitution, along with an accompanying measure to keep the military government in control for several years.

A Yes vote would also enshrine the vesting of a great deal of power in appointed rather than elected officials.

Despite the importance of tomorrow’s decision, there have been no political rallies, no independent campaigns and virtually no debates by order of the ruling military junta.

Over 100 people who tried to campaign against the referendum on social media have been jailed, while open criticism has been made punishable by up to 10 years behind bars.

“The lack of open campaigning is effectively a one-sided campaign,” said Chulalongkorn University political analyst Thitinan Pongsudhirak in Bangkok.

“The intention is to have campaigns for the constitution, not against the constitution, because a lot of credibility is on the line for the junta.”

He suggested, however, that the political repression “has boomeranged because the other side has gathered some steam and we are seeing more anti-charter movement rising.”

The junta, which took power in a May 2014 coup, claims that the new constitution will usher in a new era of clean politics and stable democracy in a country chronically short of both in recent years.

Critics note that, for at least a five-year “transition” period, the senate will be a 250-strong chamber whose members would be appointed by the junta and include the commanders of the army and other security services.

Thai constitutional referendum entrenches military dictatorship: here.

Thailand dictatorship police arrests eight-year-old girls


This video says about itself:

Thai army threatens coup opponents with military courts

25 May 2014

Protests against the military coup in Thailand have multiplied and appear to have plenty of steam driving them despite the army’s warning that anyone violating its orders would be tried in a military court.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Thai police arrests two eight year old girls

Today, 07:38

The Thai police have arrested two girls aged eight years because they had removed voting posters from the wall of a school. Indictment: “Obstruction the referendum process” and “Destruction of public property.” The motive of the couple: they thought the colour of the posters – pink – was so beautiful.

In Thailand, on 7 August there will be a referendum on constitutional reforms which, according to the military rulers should bring more stability. Critics say the proposed measures only give the military more power.

The regime, in power since May 2014, does not seem to be entirely comfortable on the outcome of the referendum. There have made a law prohibiting both debate on the constitution and campaigning for or against it.

Unique swimming centipede discovered on honeymoon


Scolopendra cataracta, photo by Warut Siriwut

From National Geographic:

‘Horrific’ First Amphibious Centipede Discovered

This giant, venomous creepy-crawly is as comfortable swimming and walking underwater as it is on land, in a finding that surprised scientists.

Meet S. cataracta, a new species of centipede that hunts in the water, a first for the group.

By Mary Bates

PUBLISHED June 26, 2016

Just when you thought it was safe to go in the water—look out for giant, swimming centipedes!

Scientists have recently described the world’s first known amphibious centipede. It belongs to a group of giant centipedes called Scolopendra and grows up to 20 centimeters (7.9 inches) long.

Like all centipedes, it is venomous and carnivorous. Thankfully, this new water-loving species appears to live only in Southeast Asia. The creature’s description was published last month in the journal ZooKeys.

Centipede Serendipity

George Beccaloni of the Natural History Museum in London was on his honeymoon in Thailand in 2001. And like any good entomologist, he was looking for bugs.

“Wherever I go in the world, I always turn over rocks beside streams, and that’s where I found this centipede, which was quite a surprise,” says Beccaloni.

“It was pretty horrific-looking: very big with long legs and a horrible dark, greenish-black color,” he says.

When Beccaloni lifted the rock it was hiding under, the centipede immediately escaped into the stream, rather than into the forest. It ran along the stream bed underwater and concealed itself under a rock.

With some difficulty, Beccaloni captured the centipede and later put it in a large container of water. He says it immediately dove to the bottom and swam powerfully like an eel, with horizontal undulations of its body. When he took the centipede out of the container, the water rolled off its body, leaving it totally dry.

Beccaloni brought his specimen back to the Natural History Museum in London and asked a centipede expert about his observations. The expert was skeptical, because Scolopendra are found in dry habitats and no centipedes were known to be amphibious. So the specimen sat in the museum’s collection for years.

Finally, a New Species

Meanwhile, Beccaloni’s colleague at the Museum, Gregory Edgecombe, and his student in Thailand, Warut Siriwut, were on the verge of describing a new species of centipede.

They had collected two specimens near waterfalls in Laos, and DNA analysis confirmed it was a new species. They named the centipede Scolopendra cataracta, from the Latin for “waterfall.”

Beccaloni shared the observations of his specimen’s amphibious behavior with Edgecombe, and they confirmed that his honeymoon centipede was an example of S. cataracta.

The entire species is known from just four specimens: the two collected in Laos, Beccaloni’s swimming specimen from Thailand, and a fourth specimen that was collected in Vietnam in 1928 and was in the collection at the Natural History Museum in London, misidentified as a more common species.

Beccaloni believes S. cataracta exploits a different ecological niche from other centipedes.

“Other Scolopendra hunt on land,” he says. “I would bet this species goes into the water at night to hunt aquatic or amphibious invertebrates.”

Like all centipedes, this new amphibious species is venomous. Although you would not want to be bitten by one, it probably wouldn’t kill you—it would just cause agonizing pain.

“All large Scolopendra can deliver a painful bite, the ‘fang’ of the venom-delivery system being able to pierce our skin,” says Edgecombe.

Bites from related centipedes of about the same size as S. cataracta cause a burning pain that can spread the length of the entire arm or leg if a finger or toe is envenomated. Edgecombe says the pain may persist for a few days, but probably won’t leave one with any longer-lasting effects.

It sounds like some people’s worst nightmare: if you go for a dip in a nice stream at night, there might be giant centipedes lurking in the water.

But to scientists like Beccaloni and Edgecombe, the new discovery is further proof of all the wonders of nature that are still unknown to us.

“People tend to study streams in the tropics during the day, but there is probably a whole other range of interesting amphibious things that come out at night,” says Beccaloni. “It would be good to study these streams and their fauna then to see what is actually going on under the cover of darkness.”

Millions of bats on video


This video says about itself:

Drone Captures Millions Of Swarming Bats

4 March 2016

This creepy footage of ‘millions’ of swarming bats could be evidence of Batman‘s legendary cave.

Forget Gotham City, this flying formation turned the sky above Khao no-Khao Kaeo, Thailand, dark as night.

As the video begins, the river of bats starts to appear above the lush forest below.

With the creatures corkscrewing around in unison, the drone – being operated by Charlie Onians – is swiftly surrounded by flapping wings.