The Thai capital is also among the mega coastal cities projected by the end of this century to lie totally or partially under water as global warming boosts sea levels, according to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Others include Tokyo, London, Jakarta, Sydney, and Shanghai – an apocalyptic prospect of mass migrations and economic crises.
Last year's floods killed more than 800 people and caused an estimated $40 billion damage to the country's $345 billion economy, which is the world's 25th largest. Water covered several districts of Bangkok and swamped industrial zones that include vital automobile and electronics sectors, disrupting global supply chains.
For over eight years, Thailand’s three southernmost provinces have been in the grip of spiraling violence that has kept a low profile but taken a high toll. Drive-by shootings, attacks by improvised explosive devices, vicious assaults on teachers and targeting of monks and moderate Muslims are regular occurrences. Five thousand people have been killed since 2004, and once harmonious relations between the region’s Buddhists and Muslims have degenerated into hostile mistrust.
Rescues are rare and, as Thailand's plodding investigation of the Uzbek case shows, less effective than their advocates claim. Successful trafficking convictions are rarer still: there were just 3,619 worldwide in 2010, reports the U.S. State Department, despite at least 60 countries — including Thailand — passing tough new antitrafficking laws in the past decade.
Thailand is a constitutional monarchy that has suffered from increasing instability over the last few years, as a series of coups, changes in government and mass demonstrations have opened, or revealed, deep rifts within an outwardly peaceful country.
Might the Thai government finally be taking environmental concerns seriously? Not exactly. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has presented an ambitious plan to build protective walls around the country’s core industrial areas and promote forest-conservation measures. But her projects are mostly about making the right noises to please the palace and the public.
At least 10 people were killed and more than 100 wounded following a pair of bombings Saturday in the southern Thai city of Yala, Thai media reported.
The two blasts were the result of bombs stashed in stolen trucks, Police Lt. Gen. Paitoon Chuchaiya told CNN affiliate MCOT.
Thailand is a highly popular tourist destination, and Bangkok serves as a major transport hub for the Southeast Asian region.
Thailand has undergone periods of unrest in recent years. It experienced a spate of political violence during anti-government demonstrations in 2010.
And Muslim separatists in southern Thailand have long battled government forces in a country that is overwhelmingly Buddhist, with a number of bombings taking place last year.
VIOLENCE and death on the streets of Bangkok last month sit uneasily with Thailand's image as a peaceful home to a large expatriate community. The country is one of the strongest among emerging economies.
Its medical services have improved significantly over the past 20 years. But more needs to be done.
But away from the protests, Britons have many quality establishments in the country from which to choose, while a British-style education is increasingly sought-after by Thais themselves. All featured schools take pupils from the early years through to 18.