LAST QUARTER MOON - January 12-19

(March 21 to April 19)

The start of the week oscillates between agitation and full dilemmas, but there is no need to panic. This is the final backlash of a mediocre lunar phase for you. It has at least led you to resolve some problems. At work, straight after the weekend some sticking points which have been making you angry with your boss or a teammate will start to melt away. In love, you have understood that you want to change something — you now just have to work out how. Solitary souls prepare to fall in love passionately and unexpectedly.

(April 20 to May 20)

The financial situation is really testing you, and as a consequence bad moods will spread to other areas of your life. But from this week onwards Mars will become active once again. It is not yet the right time to take professional risks, but you can patiently evaluate the moves to make in the future. Support from friends and colleagues is invaluable. Uncertainty reigns in love as well. If there are questions which need clarifying, it is best to tackle them on Sunday 19. Singles make do with brief trysts.

(May 21 to June 21)

Having adapted to rules or limitations, both in love and at work, and thought about and taken aim at your real life objectives, next week you will be ready to pull the trigger and restart with a bang. In some areas, you could have accepted some compromises, but now you feel like you are on the right path. This week is rich in ideas for creative types, and in interesting (or clandestine) encounters for anyone looking to rejoin the dating game.

(June 22 to July 22)

Sometimes, changing your point of view can work wonders. Especially when words like "obligation" and "dependency" are replaced by "determination" and "stubbornness," thanks to a beautiful Mars from Monday onwards. At work, despite arguments with your boss or colleagues, you have learnt that you are capable of expressing your opinion firmly and with no frills. The same applies in love. Wednesday 14 is a great day for making proposals or kickstarting new initiatives.

(July 23 to August 22)

This week requires order and discipline in all things professional and financial. Don’t lose control on Jan. 14 when something or someone seems ready to block one of your initiatives. It’s all a little tiring, but remember that you are in a time of great growth. Love is on the back burner for everyone, but there is an important message for anyone who is single: Stop thinking about your soulmate and allow yourself to enjoy an imperfect acquaintance who will, in time, get you excited.

(August 23 to September 22)

Work gets ever more frenetic and some tension is noticeable at the start of the week. It is not only uncooperative colleagues or partners, but also someone in your family — or even your own partner — who will weigh down the moment. Remember, however, that despite the tiredness, everything that starts now has the potential to develop further in the future. Stay strong! You will need to remain calm during peaks of tension at the weekend, or else you risk doing damage. Lonely hearts work part-time.

(September 23 to October 23)

It has been a month of settling down, of tiredness and other responsibilities — above all family-linked. But now you have nothing left to give and you must focus on yourself. Relationships which are falling apart come to a good-natured end. For long-term couples, plans, dialogue and complicity are in the stars. This week and next are important for meeting new people and starting a relationship, but also for setting up new projects and asking for a little more at work.

(October 24 to November 20)

From Monday, the resolute push of Mars helps you to face up to recent problems in love or at work. You just need to work out how. Imposing your point of view on a partner or colleague, or threatening to throw a project or relationship out of the window is probably not the best choice. The truth is that you feel stuck in a corner and you won’t accept any compromise. Wait for next week to start new projects. Forza!

(November 21 to December 22)

As a professional, you are in "reorganization" mode. If you work with teams, you will have to find a balance between the participants egos and their acceptance of others’ proposals. In general, it is a week of strength which makes Friday 16 an excellent day for new projects — and also new love. Speaking of which, singles will be making choices while couples dream and love. Newly separated couples will be able to resolve contentious issues.

(December 23 to January 20)

From Jan. 14 onwards, you notice an increase in business leads that, in some cases, come from extra work or investment. Pending questions will be addressed without mincing words. If you have been jaded about matters of the heart recently, you will find the courage to put yourself out there once again. There is time to fall in love, but you have to jump in with both feet. Mars’s overwhelming enthusiasm offers moments of sensuality and sexuality, especially on Sunday — and potentially a little bit of jealousy to deal with.

(January 21 to February 21)

Around the very start of the week you may receive a positive piece of news at work. If there have been quarrels with a partner, an agreement may be reached — thanks to a suggestion coming from you. Couples will experience moments of tension around Wednesday: It is always money problems or distance caused by work which provoke the arguments. But peace is re-established by the weekend. If you are single or newly-dating, you will soon find yourself floating lightheartedly on the waves of love.

(February 22 to March 20)

The balance of Mars and Saturn produces uncertainties about the future. Where are you going? It is as though you are colliding with a reality significantly more difficult than you imagined. At work, you might have underestimated the responsibility of a certain activity — or, anticipating a change, you might find the route barred by a partner. Thursday and Friday are the toughest days. Singles are hibernating, and lovers are asking themselves whether to continue or not. Be patient, clarity is coming soon.

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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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