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2015 02 18 Publish: This Soccer Match May Just Be the Craziest Ash Wednesday Tradition Ever

One of the world’s most unusual games of soccer is taking place in the small town of Ashbourne in the English Midlands. It began on Fat Tuesday, which in the U.K. is called Shrove Tuesday, and continues into Ash Wednesday

The Royal Shrovetide Football match is a game like no other. Instead of the regular 11-a-side soccer team, hundreds of people play on two teams, named the Down’ards (downwards) and the Up’ards (upwards). There are hardly any rules - among the few is a ban on transporting the ball in any kind of vehicle - and the annual match is played over two days, in eight-hour periods

Footwork doesn’t really come into it, in fact the game is more of a chaotic free-for-all as opposing teams attempt to force the ball (which is made of leather and cork) towards the goal posts, which are three miles apart. Oh, and the goals are stone structures by a river that need to be hit three successive times before the goal is valid.

2019 03 21 Publish

In February, the vote was delayed until March 24, ostensibly because the date would interfere with the new king’s coronation ceremony plans

While pssublic outrage has not reached levels seen before the coup in 2014, violent street protests between rival political factions have been common in recent years. Mass violent confrontations in 2010 paralyzed the capital Bangkok and an ensuing military crackdown killed 90 people and injured more than 2,000

Shortly after taking over, Prayuth Chan-ocha banned all political campaigning including political gatherings of more than five people, hundreds of activists have been arrested and charged under draconian laws such as sedition or the lese majeste – which prohibits criticism of the royal family – and the sphere for robust public discourse has all but disappeared thanks a Computer Crimes Act that restrict online expression and increases surveillance and censorship

After the military lifted a ban on political campaigning in December, a host of smaller parties appeared, including Pheu Dharmma and Thai Raksa Chart, with many Pheu Thai members joining their ranks. Analysts see these so-called defections as a tactic to get around new charter rules that disadvantage big parties

A string of corruption scandals – Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan was investigated and cleared over allegations he sported more than 20 luxury watches – falling rubber prices and land rights protests have eroded public confidence in the military government

2019 03 27

Future Forward leader Thanathorn Jungrungruangkit demanded that the Election Commission release the returns from each polling station so the figures could be scrutinized

There are mounting concerns over irregularities in Sunday’s poll, including nearly 2 million votes that were disqualified as ‘bad ballots’