bangkokpost.com – Back to the poppy fields
A resurgence in demand for heroin has sent troops and police back into the small opium plots of Chiang Mai and the Golden Triangle area, where they have found poppy plantations on an industrial scale producing opium for the trade.
nationmultimedia.com – Nearly 1.2m tap first car scheme rebate
At least 1.1 million people have applied for tax rebates under the government’s first-car programme, and the number is expected to reach 1.2 million before December 31 when the scheme ends.
bangkokpost.com – Cross-border dispute
The Myanmar Labour Ministry is demanding that Thailand extend the national verification (NV) programme for migrant labour, and says PM Yingluck promised it.
nationmultimedia.com – ‘Huge gains’ in Asean-India FTA
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra foresees vast opportunities springing from the extension of the Asean-India free-trade agreement to cover services and investment, which should boost bilateral trade to US$100 billion (about Bt3 trillion) by 2015 and to $200 billion within a decade.
bangkokpost.com – Pheu Thai pledges to push charter referendum
The Pheu Thai Party has brushed aside a proposal to amend the constitution section by section and has vowed to move ahead with a plan to hold a referendum on charter amendment.
nationmultimedia.com – Pheu Thai mulls Cabinet changes
Some of the Pheu Thai Party’s key leaders have discussed a possible minor Cabinet reshuffle due to a health problem faced by Deputy Prime Minister and Tourism and Sports Minister Chumpol Silapa-archa.
mcot.net – Deputy Commerce Minister Natthawut affirms crackdown on piracy
Deputy Commerce Minister Natthawut affirms crackdown on piracy, setting up centre to monitor situation, designating 2013 as Year of Intellectual Property Rights’ Protection
nationmultimedia.com – Ban on roadside bars for New Year break may be deferred
A newly-proposed restriction on the sale of alcoholic drinks on Bangkok footpaths cannot be imposed in time for the New Year due to delays in the bureaucratic process. However, the authorities have decided to enforce existing regulations on public order during the four-day holiday break.
nationmultimedia.com – New firms to hit record 60,000 this year
The number of new businesses in Thailand this year will certainly exceed 60,000, the highest in 111 years of record-keeping, reflecting strong confidence in the economy, according to the Business Development Department.
bangkokpost.com – 300,000 still homeless after Bopha
Some 300,000 people remain homeless in the Philippines following a deadly typhoon earlier this month, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said Friday.
bbc.co.uk – North Korea says US man arrested
North Korea says it arrested a US citizen in November after he entered the country as a tourist, without giving details of his alleged crimes.
news.com.au – Taiwan executes six death row inmates
Taiwan has executed six death row inmates, the largest number to be put to death in one day in recent years.
bbc.co.uk – Gangnam Style hits one billion views
South Korean pop star Psy’s Gangnam Style video has become the first clip to attract more than one billion views on YouTube.
bbc.co.uk – UK borrowing higher than expected as GDP revised down
The government had to borrow slightly more than expected in November.
bbc.co.uk – Thatcher recovering from operation
Former UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher is recovering in hospital after having a growth removed from her bladder.
bbc.co.uk – Riot police ‘must use less force’
The police watchdog urges the Metropolitan Police to reduce the use of excessive force following complaints against its specialist riot officers.
bbc.co.uk – Hugh Grant in hacking settlement
Hugh Grant accepts a “substantial sum” after settling his legal damages claim with the News of the World over phone-hacking, his solicitor confirms.
bbc.co.uk – Rail delays hit Christmas travel
Rail failures and flooding are continuing to cause major delays on national train routes on one of the busiest days of Christmas travel.
bbc.co.uk – Ballot sparks fresh Egypt unrest
Clashes erupt in the city of Alexandria on the eve of the second leg of voting in Egypt’s controversial constitutional referendum.
bbc.co.uk – UN peacekeeper kills colleagues
Four UN peacekeepers are shot dead and one injured in Sudan’s Darfur region after a peacekeeper opens fire.
bbc.co.uk – South Sudan ‘downs UN helicopter’
The UN says a helicopter from its peacekeeping mission has been shot down by the South Sudan army, killing all four crew, believed to be Russians.
bbc.co.uk – Dozens killed in Kenya clashes
At least 39 people have been killed in fresh clashes between rival communities in southern Kenya, police say, stoking fears of election violence.
bbc.co.uk – Italy’s Mario Monti resigns as PM
Mario Monti resigns as Italian prime minister, officials say, keeping a promise to step down after the passing of his budget in parliament.
bbc.co.uk – Steve Jobs’ super-yacht impounded
Steve Jobs’ £85m high-tech yacht Venus is impounded at the Port of Amsterdam after designer Philippe Starck claims he is still owed money.
bbc.co.uk – Dozens die in Ukraine cold snap
At least 83 people have died in Ukraine from the severe cold spell gripping the country, health officials say.
bangkokpost.com -Two dead in supermarket looting
Mobs looted supermarkets in Argentina’s third largest city early Friday, leaving two dead and two seriously injured in the latest in a spate of such outbursts.
news.com.au – Argentine judge halts killer wedding
An Argentine judge has blocked the marriage of a 22-year-old woman and her twin sister’s convicted killer.
bbc.co.uk – Argentine fury at Antarctic move
Argentina summons the UK ambassador to explain why part of Antarctica has been renamed Queen Elizabeth Land after the monarch.
bbc.co.uk – Syria ‘still using Scud missiles’
Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says Syrian government forces are continuing to fire short-range ballistic missiles at rebel fighters.
news.com.au – Hunger sharpens misery in Syria’s Aleppo
Battles between forces loyal to embattled President Bashar al-Assad and rebels in Aleppo have cut off supply lines for food and fuel.
news.com.au – Libyan army moves to ‘secure Benghazi’
The Libyan army is deploying units to help bolster security in the eastern city of Benghazi, a day after clashes there killed four people.
bbc.co.uk – Three Westerners seized in Yemen
Two Finns and an Austrian are kidnapped by masked gunmen in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, security officials say.
bbc.co.uk – NRA: Armed police in all US schools
The United States’ most powerful pro-gun lobbying group demanded Friday that armed police be deployed to every school in the country following a mass shooting in an elementary school.
bbc.co.uk – Gun lobby defiant as Newtown mourns
The US observes a moment of silence one week after the Connecticut school shooting, as a leading gun lobby group rejects calls for gun control.
news.com.au – Senate approves $633b defence bill
A US Senate decision to approve a $US633 billion defence spending bill has passed 81-14 despite some furious opposition.
bbc.co.uk – Boehner: Still hope for tax deal
Republicans will keep working to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff” of tax rises and spending cuts, House Speaker John Boehner has said.
bbc.co.uk – Kerry named for top Obama post
US President Barack Obama nominates Senator John Kerry to replace Hillary Clinton as his next secretary of state.