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Briefly: Court frees Muslims sentenced to death
BANGKOK — Thailand on Thursday invoked a special security law to cope with a political rally this weekend in Bangkok, the scene of several outbreaks of violent unrest in recent years.
Police expect tens of thousands of people to attend Saturday’s rally at the Royal Plaza. The demonstration is organized by the royalist group Pitak Siam, which opposes Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s government.
The Internal Security Act will be enforced in three districts of the capital’s historic quarter for nine days, officials said after the Cabinet approved the measure.
Intelligence reports suggested the protest leaders aim to “overthrow an elected government and democratic rule and are ready to use violence, trespassing in important places and threatening public property and lives to achieve their goals,” Ms. Yingluck said in a televised address to the nation.
“The government must protect the democratic system under the constitutional monarchy. In these circumstance, regular security procedures are not enough.”
Government bans Dalai Lama from visit
TAIPEI — Taiwan has decided to bar the Dalai Lama from entering the island, triggering an angry response from a women’s organization that had invited him to a meeting there next month, officials said Thursday.
The Taiwan chapter of the Federation of Business and Professional Women, headed by former Vice President Annette Lu, said the move reflected fear of angering China, which sees the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader as a separatist.
The federation said that it had contacted the Dalai Lama directly and that he had agreed to attend the Asia-Pacific regional conference in Taipei in December.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry confirmed that the government will not allow the visit but denied China had anything to do with the decision.
Palestinian seeks support for higher U.N. status
BEIJING — A Palestinian envoy arrived Thursday in China’s capital to discuss the Palestinians’ conflict with Israel and their bid to upgrade their status at the U.N., in the latest sign of Beijing’s growing influence in the Middle East.
Bassam al-Salhi’s arrival came hours after a cease-fire in the fiercest fighting in years between Israel and Hamas militants. Eight days of airstrikes and artillery attacks by Israel and rocket attacks by Palestinian militants had killed 161 Palestinians and five Israelis.
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