Thai Ex-PM Yingluck Indicted Over Failed Rice Subsidy Program
Thailand's attorney general has filed criminal charges against former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra over her involvement in a bungled rice subsidy program that cost the country billions of dollars.
Prosecutors on Thursday charged Ms. Yingluck with dereliction of duty for overseeing the program, which paid farmers above market prices for their rice. Her opponents say the program was an attempt to win the farmers' political support.
The Supreme Court must decide by March 19 whether to accept the case. If found guilty, Ms. Yingluck could be jailed for up to a decade.
Ms. Yingluck was ousted by a court order in May 2014, just days before the military seized power. Last month, Thailand's military-appointed legislature retroactively impeached her and banned her from politics for five years.
The Thai junta is also considering a civil suit against Ms. Yingluck. The National Anti-Corruption Commission on Wednesday recommended the government seek $18 billion in damages for the rice scheme.
The ex-prime minister claims the case against her is politically motivated and insists the rice subsidy program benefited Thai farmers.
Obama to Conclude Anti-Extremist Conference Thursday
U.S. President Barack Obama will conclude a three-day conference on countering violent radicalism Thursday with a speech before representatives of more than 60 nations at the U.S. State Department.
During an address Wednesday before a group of community and religious leaders, Mr. Obama called on them to help fight "false promises of extremism" and reject the notion that "terrorist" groups represent Islam.
The Obama administration has been careful not to put the focus of this week's summit solely on Islamic extremism, but on all forms of extremism.
"They try to portray themselves as religious leaders, holy warriors," Mr. Obama said Wednesday at the White House. "They are not religious leaders, they are terrorists. We are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.”
He also appealed directly to prominent Muslims to do more to distance themselves from brutal ideologies.