Thailand military leaders hold former prime minister

Thailand’s coup leaders said Saturday that they will keep former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Cabinet members and anti-government protest leaders detained for up to a week to give them “time to think” and to keep the country calm.

Outspoken academics were also summoned to report to the junta.

The ruling military council dissolved the country’s Senate on Saturday, stripping away the last democratic institution in the country.

The moves appear aimed at consolidating power and preventing any high-profile figures from rallying opposition to the military, which seized power Thursday after months of sometimes violent street protests and deadlock between the elected government and protesters supported by Thailand’s elite establishment.

For a second day, hundreds of anti-coup protesters defied the military’s ban on large gatherings, shouting slogans and waving signs Saturday.

Most of Bangkok, however, remained calm Saturday, and there was little military presence on the streets.

KIEV, Ukraine

Pro-Russian insurgents keeping voter turnout low

Pro-Russian insurgents are likely to prevent voting Sunday in half or more of the election districts in the embattled east, Ukrainian officials say.

Deputy Interior Minister Serhiy Yarovyi said Saturday that police are ready to ensure order and security at polling stations in just nine of the 34 districts in the east.

Earlier, a Ukrainian official said 17 out of 34 district election commissions in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions are not operating because their offices have either been seized or blocked by armed men.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that he is prepared to work with the election winner.

On Saturday, Putin again accused the West of ignoring Russia’s interests in Ukraine, in particular by leaving open the possibility that the country could one day join NATO.


Gay rights group calls on Utah governor to apologize

A gay rights organization is calling on Utah Gov. Gary Herbert to apologize for suggesting homosexuality is a choice and for calling decisions by other state leaders to not defend same-sex marriage bans the “next step to anarchy.”

John Netto, head of the Utah Pride Center’s board, said the governor’s comments during a televised news conference Thursday were hurtful.

“To suggest that allowing gay marriage is the foundation of anarchy, to us, is hate speech,” Netto told The Salt Lake Tribune. “We think he is uneducated … on current scientific positions in regard to human sexuality.”

Herbert’s office didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Utah’s same-sex marriage ban was struck down by a federal judge in December. The ruling led more than 1,000 same-sex couples to marry in the state before the U.S. Supreme Court issued an emergency stay pending an appeal.

– From news service reports