Thailand first in Asia to roll out standardised plain cigarette packaging

Standardised plain packaging for cigarettes has been made mandatory in Thailand, which is the first country in Asia to adopt such a rule. Health officials are hoping that the move will reduce the number of smokers in Thailand, where around 19% of the population aged 15 and older smoke regularly. Health advocates ultimately aim to reduce the population of smokers in Thailand to 5%.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut takes 'sole responsibility' for incomplete oath

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has said that he will take sole responsibility for failing to recite the full oath of allegiance when he and his Cabinet were sworn in. In an official ceremony in July, Mr Prayut and 35 ministers had omitted the last sentence of the oath about upholding and complying with the Constitution. No explanation was given as to why this happened. Thai opposition politicians have raised the issue, saying that the mistake could render the current government illegitimate.

US will not ask Southeast Asian allies to take sides: Mike Pompeo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted that Washington would never ask Southeast Asian allies to take sides as tensions continued to rise with its rival China. He made the remarks after meeting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers meeting in Bangkok on Aug 1. The pair discussed bilateral relations, the One China policy and denuclearisation talks with North Korea. Both sides said the talks were positive.