LAST QUARTER MOON - Dec. 15-21, 2014

(March 21 to April 19)

The Final Quarter of the Moon will test your patience and perseverance. You can get just about anything, just as long as you manage to get an organized system in place — this requires patience. This is your "challenge" for the last quarter, and if you embrace it you will be rewarded.
TEMPO: allegro con pazienza

(April 20 to May 20)

It's time to drop some dead weight to help your balloon soar higher. Some friendships may get left behind, but the people with whom you can truly be yourself deserve to come aboard your Ark in the sky. Time to clear out, which can sometimes be tiring but very valuable. In love, Mercury returns to your favor beginning Dec. 17 and goes to join the beautiful Venus, who has already been active since Dec. 10.
TEMPO: andantino sollevato

(May 21 to June 21)

A period of "revision" has begun, and over the past few days you have already felt the first signs, with some sparks of tension. In love, there's perhaps a discussion to be had about the relationship. Some who are not satisfied with work are now pondering a change of course. Carefully consider the options that lie ahead because now, more than ever, we must look ahead.
TEMPO: adagetto con cautela

(June 22 to July 22)

In recent weeks, work has required maximum concentration and sucked out a lot of energy. You are working more than you should, but this commitment does not always bring the desired results. Worries at the job are likely to spill over into your love life: singles may sink away from socializing into their lonely hearts and those in relationships may feel hit by the no-nonsense attitudes of their partners.

TEMPO: marcia irritata

(July 23 to August 22)

Over the past few weeks the atmosphere has begun to sparkle a bit more. You are granted some healthy distractions from work, it may be new learning or some romantic and relaxing trips out of town. In short: you have thought about yourself. You are in a blessed period of recovery and you'll realize this even more next year. This week, however, there are some things to sweat over. Christmas is approaching and deadlines are piling up. From Dec. 17-19, there are moments of fatigue and chaos because of a Luna Storta (Bad Moon) from Scorpio. Customers, colleagues, superiors: everyone wants something from you.
TEMPO: vivace di corsa

(August 23 to September 22)

The last quarter of the Moon reflects back an image of you that's a bit faded and fatigued. Family management is busy, whether it’s finances or children. And often your partner doesn't offer the support you would like. Those with solid roots will stay solid, while those already in crisis begin to crack. Singles begin to ask why they're single. Dec. 20 is a day to deal lucidly and exhibit self-control. From next week, the sky will come back clear.
TEMPO: adagio con pazienza

(September 23 to October 23)

Mars pushes lonely hearts to explore new territories, but puts Venus and Mercury in an anxious position, restraining curiosity. Many singles launched new relationships — secret or complicated — and are now wondering whether or not to continue them. This week brings everything back down to earth. In some cases, it is work that recalls the obligations of reality. Don't give up, in January you'll be a star. When it comes to work, an important answer is arriving.
TEMPO: andantino con realismo

(October 24 to November 20)

Venus and Mercury have finally brought a dose of hope to lonely hearts. Dec. 19 and 20 will be superb, and you're about to receive an invitation to a spicy party or dinner that could reveal some fabulous encounters. Be sure to take a good look though: Mars has a role in this, and the other person may already be committed to someone else. Even at work Mars has some underhanded tricks. There's a risk of being irritable and argumentative with colleagues, or showing your boss your economic discontent. Whatever you do, you must be sure not to panic.
TEMPO: marcia di liberazione

(November 21 to December 22)

The Last Quarter of the Moon stimulates balance and reflection. Many born under this sign recently began a new love — and this time it's for real. For once you can put aside your pride and independence: the sky is in your favor, you can let go and get swept up in the tide. That same sky is also good for long-term couples, open to new possibilities. For those lonely hearts, welcome the weekend with delicious opportunities to meet people.

TEMPO: allegretto rinascimentale

(December 23 to January 20)

Venus and Mercury in your sign will give you the beauty and irony of Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni in "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow." Drink the love potion and, as if by magic, the desire to love will shine in you. This is a Last Quarter of the Moon that serves as a bridge toward a future of new ideas and inspiration. Couples leave behind the small crises they experienced in October and return to dream again of something more. At work, confirmations of your value, and even promotions, are coming. In short, everything is beginning again, and this time you'll be calling the shots.
TEMPO: allegro di liberazione

(January 21 to February 21)

Mars continues his ride in this sign fueling a renewed energy that hasn't been there for some time. Work brings you news that will give you wings. Over the past two years, there has been a split between what you wanted to do and what you ended up doing. Now is the time for a realignment. For some, this may seem like a risky leap, but for others, a thrilling and exciting revolution chased by time.

TEMPO: marcia rivoluzionaria

(February 22 to March 20)

There is a desire to fix things, especially in love. The Last Quarter of the Moon raises doubts about a relationship that has seen some backlash over the past few months. Still, there is the will to find a solution, and it’s better not to put your partner in front of an either/or situation: they won't always find the same spirit of understanding. Start by thinking about what you really want. Work has entered a phase of fluctuation. For those who are self-employed, it is important to find the right allies with whom you share efforts, responsibility and satisfaction. For employees, there are some tensions in the workplace, be careful not to butt heads.
TEMPO: adagio con cautela
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How Thailand's Lèse-Majesté Law Is Used To Stifle All Protest

Once meant to protect the royal family, the century-old law has become a tool for the military-led government in Bangkok to stamp out all dissent. A new report outlines the abuses.

Pro-Democracy protest at The Criminal Court in Bangkok, Thailand

Laura Valentina Cortés Sierra

"We need to reform the institution of the monarchy in Thailand. It is the root of the problem." Those words, from Thai student activist Juthatip Sirikan, are a clear expression of the growing youth-led movement that is challenging the legitimacy of the government and demanding deep political changes in the Southeast Asian nation. Yet those very same words could also send Sirikan to jail.

Thailand's Criminal Code 'Lèse-Majesté' Article 112 imposes jail terms for defaming, insulting, or threatening the monarchy, with sentences of three to 15 years. This law has been present in Thai politics since 1908, though applied sparingly, only when direct verbal or written attacks against members of the royal family.

But after the May 2014 military coup d'état, Thailand experienced the first wave of lèse-majesté arrests, prosecutions, and detentions of at least 127 individuals arrested in a much wider interpretation of the law.

The recent report 'Second Wave: The Return of Lèse-Majesté in Thailand', documents how the Thai government has "used and abused Article 112 of the Criminal Code to target pro-democracy activists and protesters in relation to their online political expression and participation in peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations."

Criticism of any 'royal project'

The investigation shows 124 individuals, including at least eight minors, have been charged with lèse-majesté between November 2020 and August 2021. Nineteen of them served jail time. The new wave of charges is cited as a response to the rising pro-democracy protests across Thailand over the past year.

Juthatip Sirikan explains that the law is now being applied in such a broad way that people are not allowed to question government budgets and expenditure if they have any relationship with the royal family, which stifles criticism of the most basic government decision-making since there are an estimated 5,000 ongoing "royal" projects. "Article 112 of lèse-majesté could be the key (factor) in Thailand's political problems" the young activist argues.

In 2020 the Move Forward opposition party questioned royal spending paid by government departments, including nearly 3 billion baht (89,874,174 USD) from the Defense Ministry and Thai police for royal security, and 7 billion baht budgeted for royal development projects, as well as 38 planes and helicopters for the monarchy. Previously, on June 16, 2018, it was revealed that Thailand's Crown Property Bureau transferred its entire portfolio to the new King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

photo of graffiti of 112 crossed out on sidewalk

Protestors In Bangkok Call For Political Prisoner Release

Peerapon Boonyakiat/SOPA Images via ZUMA Wire

Freedom of speech at stake

"Article 112 shuts down all freedom of speech in this country", says Sirikan. "Even the political parties fear to touch the subject, so it blocks most things. This country cannot move anywhere if we still have this law."

The student activist herself was charged with lèse-majesté in September 2020, after simply citing a list of public documents that refer to royal family expenditure. Sirikan comes from a family that has faced the consequences of decades of political repression. Her grandfather, Tiang Sirikhan was a journalist and politician who openly protested against Thailand's involvement in World War II. He was accused of being a Communist and abducted in 1952. According to Sirikhan's family, he was killed by the state.

The new report was conducted by The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Thai Lawyer for Human Rights (TLHR), and Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw). It accuses Thai authorities of an increasingly broad interpretation of Article 112, to the point of "absurdity," including charges against people for criticizing the government's COVID-19 vaccine management, wearing crop tops, insulting the previous monarch, or quoting a United Nations statement about Article 112.

Juthatip Sirikan speaks in front of democracy monument.

Shift to social media

While in the past the Article was only used against people who spoke about the royals, it's now being used as an alibi for more general political repression — which has also spurred more open campaigning to abolish it. Sirikan recounts recent cases of police charging people for spreading paint near the picture of the king during a protest, or even just for having a picture of the king as phone wallpaper.

The more than a century-old law is now largely playing out online, where much of today's protest takes place in Thailand. Sirikan says people are willing to go further on social media to expose information such as how the king intervenes in politics and the monarchy's accumulation of wealth, information the mainstream media rarely reports on them.

Not surprisingly, however, social media is heavily monitored and the military is involved in Intelligence operations and cyber attacks against human rights defenders and critics of any kind. In October 2020, Twitter took down 926 accounts, linked to the army and the government, which promoted themselves and attacked political opposition, and this June, Google removed two Maps with pictures, names, and addresses, of more than 400 people who were accused of insulting the Thai monarchy. "They are trying to control the internet as well," Sirikan says. "They are trying to censor every content that they find a threat".

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