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Thai junta leader elected PM after military rule

Thai junta leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha was elected prime minister in parliament in a move that has been widely expected since he seized power in May.

Prayuth has won at least half the votes, the required number needed to secure his nomination, a live television broadcast of the parliamentary session showed. The 60-year-old was the only person nominated.

Thai Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha
Thai Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha Credit: Reuters

His appointment will need to be formally approved by Thailand's king. The military says it took power on May 22 to avoid further bloodshed and restore stability after months of unrest pitting supporters of ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra against her Bangkok-based royalist opponents.

Thailand clamps down on surrogate baby industry

The crackdown follows recent publicity over a Thai surrogate mother who said she was left with a baby rejected by his Australian biological parents after he was born with Down's syndrome.
Credit: Reuters

Four couples from the US and Australia have been prevented from leaving Thailand with surrogate babies, it is reported.

The move was part of a government crackdown on the burgeoning commercial surrogacy industry, Australian Broadcasting Corporation said.

The crackdown follows recent publicity over a Thai surrogate mother who said she was left with a baby rejected by his Australian biological parents after he was born with Down's syndrome. The biological parents, who took the boy's healthy twin sister home, dispute the circumstances in which they abandoned their son.

More: Australian couple: Surrogate mother wanted our girl

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Thai surrogate mother shock over report of father 'sex offender' allegations

A surrogate mother in Thailand who was left with a Down's Syndrome baby allegedly abandoned by his Australian biological parents has said she would be happy to have the baby's healthy twin returned. Pattaramon Chanbua also spoke of her shock over reports alleging the father was a convicted sex offender.

Thai surrogate mother said she would take the little girl back.
Thai surrogate mother said she would take the little girl back. Credit: APTV

The 21-year-old said the father rejected Gammy, while taking his healthy twin sister home to the state of Western Australia.

Australia's Nine Network television alleged that the father was a convicted paedophile.

Pattaramon Chanbua, Surrogate mother: "If she (baby girl) is happy, then I, as a mother, am also happy. I don't want to bring her back to suffer or anything. A mother would never want her child in trouble. But if she really cannot go on living there, then I'm very happy to have her back in my arms."

On condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, a police officer told The Associated Press, that the father was a convicted sex offender.?

While the mother had previously said she was happy to have the twin girl stay with the Australian parents, the reports about the father's past had raised doubts in her mind.

Read: Thai surrogate mother shock at father 'sex offender' claims

Hagel calls on Thailand to 'return to democracy'

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has called on Thailand to "return to democracy" during an Asia-Pacific security forum after the military took over control of the government in a coup.

US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hage Credit: Wiktor Dabkowski/DPA/Press Association Images

"We will also respond when nations retreat from democracy, as in Thailand. We urge the Royal Thai Armed Forces to release those who have been detained, end restrictions on free expression, and move immediately to restore power to the people of Thailand through free and fair elections.

"Until that happens, as US law requires, the US State of Department is suspending and reconsidering US assistance and engagement with Bangkok", he said.

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Thai soldiers detain former minister after criticism

Chaturon Chaisang waves from inside a military van after being detained.
Chaturon Chaisang waves from inside a military van after being detained. Credit: Reuters

Soldiers have captured and detained Thailand's former education minister, an open critic of the new military regime in the country.

Chaturon Chaisang, who had been on the run after refusing to turn himself in to the military after being summoned, had just given a talk at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand.

He had denounced a coup that he said would only exacerbate conflict in the polarised country.

Other former ministers were detained by the military after the coup on May 22 although most, including former premier Yingluck Shinawatra, have now been freed, even if their movements are being monitored.

Read: Thai army urges US to understand reasons behind coup

Taylor Swift cancels Thailand gig

US pop star Taylor Swift has cancelled her upcoming gig in Thailand because of the military coup in the country.

The concert in Bangkok would have been on the night of June 9, but the country is under a night-time curfew.

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I'm sending my love to the fans in Thailand. I'm so sad about the concert being canceled.

More: Thailand general issues warning to protesters

Thailand general issues warning to protesters

Thai soldiers take up position to secure the Victory Monument square to bar protesters from staging anti-coup demonstration in Bangkok. Credit: AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn

Thailand's military ruler has issued a strong warning to anyone opposed to last week's coup, urging dissenters not to cause trouble or else the nation could rever back to the "old days" of turmoil and street violence.

Speaking in his first public appearance since seizing power, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, said:

"I'm not here to argue with anyone. I want to bring everything out in the open and fix it.

Right now there are people coming out to protest. So do you want to go back to the old days? I'm asking the people in the country, if you want it that way, then I will have to enforce the law."

More: Former PM Shinawatra 'released from custody'

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