U.S. pharmaceutical company Abbott Laboratories said it would stop launching new medicines in Thailand in protest of the government's move to override international drug patents. The decision will not affect Abbott drugs already on sale in Thailand. In January, the Thai government declared a "compulsory license" allowing it to make or buy generic versions of Abbott's HIV drug Kaletra. "Thailand has chosen to break patents on numerous medicines, ignoring the patent system … as such, we've elected not to introduce new medicines there," said Abbott spokeswoman Jennifer Smoter. The move by Abbott was condemned by international organizations including Doctors Without Borders and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

The Children and Youth Council of Thailand has called on the media industry to stop publishing seductive photos of scantily-clad movie stars and teen idols, saying it sets a bad precedent. At its first ever meeting held last Friday, council president Ek Wong-anan told the industry to correct their perception that the majority of youths wanted to see such photos on the front pages of magazines and newspapers. Ek cited the council's survey of 594 children and youths across the country in which 83.7 percent said publishing sexy and revealing photos was improper. "We would like the media and the teen idols to take it as their duty to create role models and instil moral values in children," he said.
Bangkok Post

Swiss national Oliver Rudolf Jufer pleaded guilty Monday to spray-painting over five portraits of King Bhumibol Adulyadej in Chiang Mai, and now faces a maximum 75-year prison sentence. The vandalism took place on Bhumibol's 79th birthday. The trial was closed to the public, and prosecutors declined to discuss details of the case because of sensitivities in Thailand about portraying the beloved king in a negative light. The military launched a separate investigation into the incident, saying that Jufer's act raised suspicion that he was hired by someone opposed to the Sept. 19 coup that ousted Thaksin Shinawatra, also a resident of Chiang Mai.