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NEW MOON IN TAURUS - May 18-24

The New Moon suggests that life could flow much better for you if you learn a new way of communicating and become more open to dialogue, as well as listen to others. Those born under your sign tend to be natural leaders, but right now it is essential for you to listen to advice from others and freely express any doubts and weaknesses! If you succeed in this, the next two weeks will bring you strength and confidence. Lonely hearts should pay attention to signals coming from someone close by, who looks at them with great interest.

TEMPO: allegretto moderato


The New Moon in your sign, in addition to the entrance of the Sun in Gemini, will reignite your Second House (the House of Possessions) and bring activity to your bank account. Economically speaking, the last few weeks have been very tiring. Bigger expenses or lower earnings have troubled your sky, but it will remain positive and constructive. The coming weeks will see these economic concerns subside and the return of good spirits — which you'll need to seize the opportunities at hand: onwards and upwards!

TEMPO: andante liberato


The Sun is about to return to your sign, preceded by a New Moon in the Twelfth House (the House of the Unconscious). It's time to renew your desires and focus on new targets. An important change is in your sky: Less tiredness, more energy and better satisfactions ahead. On your desk, among the thousands of pieces of paper, is a winning scratch card. Clearing away the unnecessary bulk will help find it — this also applies to love, where among the many people you know is the one who can make you happy.

TEMPO: adagetto impegnato


The New Moon in Taurus stimulates you: You're more sociable and widen your circle of friends. New knowledge will widen your reach and allow you new professional achievements, unlocking doors that seemed barred until now. Even in love, an important surprise is around the corner. You might start to look at a friend in a different way and discover that the person you dreamed of was already there, just waiting to be noticed.

TEMPO: andante con brio


There's a New Moon in the Tenth House (House of Social Status/Career) and the Sun is coming into the House of Friendship and Sociability. Your focus on work continues to be strong, with a great desire for success and revenge on those who didn't believe in your talent. Try to look around and widen your circle of acquaintances, spontaneously and naturally — and leave that grouchiness of yours at home. In love, there is calm before the storm hits when Venus (who will be in your sign for five months) will bless the summer.

TEMPO: allegretto in rimonta


Between new contacts, proposals and the general hustle and bustle, your week is under a busy sky. A new project may take a while to take off: One day it seems to be in your pocket, the next there is a delay or difficulty to overcome. But, thanks to the astrological time machine, I see a full recovery coming in September — full of satisfaction and financial rewards. So, despite some difficulties, I'd say you're on the right track!

TEMPO: allegretto sudato


This week's transits speak languages of distant countries. There is a strong desire to leave and get a change of scenery, both symbolically and geographically. The New Moon invites us to reflect that even the longest journey is made of small steps, and takes balance, caution and determination. These are the first things to pack when planning a one-way trip to your new world of personal satisfaction.

TEMPO: andante in conquista


The New Moon is in opposition in the House of Relationships. And the Sun is entering the eighth House, an area of great transformations. Something is changing in the way you relate to others — especially when it comes to emotions. Those who have recently ended a relationship oscillate between the desire to re-open their hearts and the knowledge that some judgment errors must not be repeated: You should try to handle distance- and difference-related problems differently.

TEMPO: adagetto sospettoso


This New Moon brings new important relationships. Couples are experiencing a great expansive force — especially younger couples: After handling a series of economic and organizational questions, they are now preparing to receive a major gift of love. Even professionally, new alliances and agreements are able to support your efforts and multiply the benefits.

TEMPO: allegrissimo in espansione


The New Moon has a new, more balanced way of taking care of your physical well-being: It's time to take care of yourself! You would bend over backwards to take care of others, but the New Moon in Gemini will make you understand what you need for yourself — and ask for it. Express your needs, put your pride and independence aside. You will be amazed to see how much you can get!

TEMPO: adagio riequilibrato


The New Moon stimulates creativity and a desire for expression. Now free from the Taurine quadrature, you're speeding up with a challenge: finding a less dispersive balance, focusing your energies on the things that really deserve your commitment and discarding the others. Both work and love are in a period that can give you plenty, as long as you manage to be selective!

TEMPO: andantino espressivo


The New Moon shows a new way of harmoniously living in your home and interacting with people, who could test your determination to deal with some relaunched projects. This is especially true for younger people who have left, or plan to leave, to pursue their dreams. Over the next few weeks, parents may have to bring them back into the fold. Only those who believe strongly in the direction they are undertaking will resist calling the certain uncertain.

TEMPO: energico con determinazione

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Geopolitics

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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