Thousands of soldiers and police were deployed across Bangkok on Sunday, an official said, as anti-coup protesters vowed to stage flashmob rallies in several locations in defiance of an army edict banning political assemblies. "We have deployed more than 6,500 soldiers and police at several key places believed to be the areas for protest this afternoon," said deputy national police chief Somyot Poompanmoung. Political assemblies of more than five people were banned under martial law declared by Army Chief Prayut two days before he seized power in a coup three weeks ago.
Pristina (Undefined) (AFP) - Kosovo voted Sunday in snap polls seen as a key test for the country's EU ambitions and for Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, an ex-guerrilla chief who has dominated politics since independence six years ago. Polling stations opened at 7.00am local time (0500 GMT) throughout Kosovo, with all eyes on the turnout from the Serb minority in the north, voting for the first time since Kosovo broke away from Serbia. A high turnout from the 120,000-strong Serb community would be seen as a boost to Thaci's dream of joining the 28-nation European Union, after last year's historic agreement on improving Kosovo's ties with Belgrade.
A minister from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling party has said rapes happen "accidentally" in the latest controversial remarks by a politician amid renewed anger over attacks against women. These kind of incidents happen accidentally," Paikra, of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which also rules at the national level, told reporters. Paikra, who was asked for his thoughts on the gang-rape and lynching of two girls in a neighbouring state, later said he had been misquoted. The minister, Babulal Gaur, gave the remarks on Thursday at a time of growing outrage over the gang-rape and murder of the girls, aged 12 and 14, in northern Uttar Pradesh state late last month.
Ex-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is to be sworn in Sunday as Egypt's new president, confirming the de facto status of head of state which he has already held for nearly a year. Sisi will take his oath of office at the Constitutional Court, which police and soldiers have placed under heavy guard ahead of the ceremony at 0730 GMT. Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, Arab royals from the Gulf and African leaders will later attend a reception at Cairo's Ittihadiya presidential palace. Sisi won the May 26-28 polls with 96.9 percent of the vote, in a crushing defeat for his only rival, leftist leader Hamdeen Sabbahi, who walked away with only three percent of the vote.
China's foreign minister began a two-day visit to India on Sunday for the first high-level talks between the world's two most populous nations since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge. Wang Yi arrived in New Delhi as a special envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping to "establish contact with the new government of India", the Indian foreign ministry said. Despite his hardline nationalist reputation, Modi has been making overtures to traditional rivals China and Pakistan since his Bharatiya Janata Party swept to power last month. Foreign policy expert Ranjit Gupta told AFP the visit was a "good augury".
Europe's governments are turning their attention to prostitution, drugs and contraband as possible ways of boosting their economic growth profiles, as they struggle away from their debt crises. Italy caused a stir when it announced last month that it would begin including revenues from drug trafficking and the sex trade, as well as contraband tobacco and alcohol, to calculate gross domestic product (GDP) from next year. In 2012, Italy's central bank estimated the value of the criminal economy at 10.9 percent of GDP. Last month, Britain said including illegal activities such as prostitution and drugs into national accounts would add about 10 billion pounds (12.3 billion euros, $16.8 billion) to GDP, equivalent to about one percent of national output.
The last time Thailand had a coup, the stock market crashed when the kingdom imposed draconian capital controls. "The military government struggled to manage the economy, reflecting the lack of technocratic skills in economic management and administration," recalled Rajiv Biswas, chief Asia economist at the IHS consultancy firm. After the 2006 coup, markets were particularly frightened by drastic foreign capital controls introduced several months later to try to curb the rise of the baht, noted Ryan Aherin, Asia analyst at risk advisory company Maplecroft. The Thai stock market suffered a plunge of 15 percent in just one day before authorities quickly backtracked.