NLA seeks court’s response on EC selection

Published December 15, 2017 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/politics/30333980

NLA Vice President Surachai Liengboonlertchai
NLA Vice President Surachai Liengboonlertchai

NLA seeks court’s response on EC selection

politics December 15, 2017 01:00

By THE NATION

THE NATIONAL Legislative Assembly (NLA) would send a letter to the Supreme Court asking whether it had followed the appropriate procedures and law in selecting two new election commissioners from its judges, NLA Vice President Surachai Liengboonlertchai said yesterday.

The NLA convened yesterday to consider setting up a panel to scrutinise the qualifications of the seven new members of the Election Commission (EC), two of whom were picked by the Supreme Court.

However, some NLA members, including Wallop Tang-kananurak, observed that the selection of the two commissioners by the court was being questioned by the public, while the court would clarify the process.

They suggested contacting the court and asking it to confirm its procedures first. Wallop said if the NLA proceeded with its scrutiny of the qualifications of the five commissioners picked by the selection committee first, it could later complicate the selection process of an EC president.

Wallop proposed the meeting to seek the court’s response before setting up an EC qualification scrutiny panel.

The Supreme Court, as required by the new EC law, was obliged to select two EC commissioners out of seven. It selected one commissioner, Chatchai Chanpraisri, who is Justice Court chief, on November 17, before picking Pakorn Mahannop, also a Justice Court judge.

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Fears of election delay amid law amendment proposals

Published December 15, 2017 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/politics/30333985

file photo : PM Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha casts vote in the referendum on the then-charter draft in August last year
file photo : PM Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha casts vote in the referendum on the then-charter draft in August last year

Fears of election delay amid law amendment proposals

politics December 15, 2017 01:00

By WASAMON AUDJARINT
THE NATION

CRITICS QUESTION WHETHER HIDDEN AGENDA BEHIND NEW PUSH BY REGIME SUPPORTERS

DESPITE the junta’s renewed political ties with the European Union, political figures have proposed amendments to the political party law that could affect the election timetable.

As a result, political observers are concerned that the proposed amendment could affect the date of the election, which is set to take place in November next year in line with the junta’s “road map to democracy”.

Existing parties are expected to submit their updated membership rosters to an election registrar before January 5. However, several observers have expressed worry that they will not be able to make the deadline as it involves a large number of members, possibly more than a million.

The junta’s ban on political gatherings of five or more people has also prevented parties from holding other activities.

Recently, some political figures had proposed amendments to the law. 

Paiboon Nititawan

Former junta-appointed reformer Paiboon Nititawan proposed on Monday that the NLA should amend the bill to require parties to re-register all of their members to “create a fair field for all old and new parties”.

While new members would have to pay registration fees to parties as required by the bill, existing members that were signed up before the bill’s enactment could maintain their memberships without paying, Paiboon suggested.

Paiboon has been involved in setting up a political party with a clear agenda to support Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to maintain the premiership after the election.

Suthep Thaugsuban

Suthep Thaugsuban of the now defunct People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) – who initiated demonstrations in late 2013-2014 before the coup – has submitted a letter to the NLA, also proposing amendments to the bill.

The letter said the bill should be fixed “in accordance with the country’s situation” and “to bring about fairness and equality for all parties, no matter old or new”. The proposal also supported the continuation of the political ban.

Suthep signed the letter as “Secretary-General to the PDRC”.

Political parties, such as Chart Thai Pattana Party and Phalang Chon Party, also voiced concerns that parties could not comply with requirements in time but suggested that registrars or the Election Commission should use their special authority instead of amending the bill.

Meanwhile, Somsak Thepsuthin, a veteran politician from Matchima Thippathai Party, yesterday proposed an amendment to the 2017 Constitution to allow MP candidates to run as independents in the election rather than having to be attached to a political party.

Democrat Party and Chart Thai Pattana Party figures yesterday questioned the agenda behind proposals to amend the bill.

While Democrat deputy leader Sathit Pitudecha urged the junta’s “five rivers of power” to be consistent in legislative and practical actions, Chart Thai Pattana Party adviser Somsak Prissanananthakul called on the junta to be accountable if it fails to follow the promised “road map to democracy”.

Sukhum Nuansakul, Ramkham-haeng University’s former rector, said an amendment would only turn the junta into a political target once again for its apparent tendency to postpone the election. “It will ultimately depend on their integrity to hold the election, after all,” he said.

Siripan Nogsuan Sawasdee, a political lecturer at Chulalongkorn University, said that an amendment would be acceptable if it is not used as a reason to postpone the election further.

“The remaining two organic laws essential for the election are still to be deliberated by the NLA next month. It’s not that they won’t have sufficient time to amend the bill,” Siripan said.

She said the amendment should be open to public participation to look into electoral mechanisms, such as the so-called primary voting system, that might obstruct the political party system.

NLA member Somchai Sawangkarn said the NLA had taken all proposals into consideration but hinted that the bill amendment could be time consuming.

“But it can’t be said that it will affect the timeline of the election. Everything still follows the road map,” he said.

Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC) chairman Meechai Ruchupan voiced opposition to Paiboon’s proposal to amend the Political Party Act to nullify party memberships for all existing parties in order to avoid disadvantaging new parties.

“It is not fair for political party members to have their membership status terminated,” he said, “although I admit that there is an advantage and disadvantage between the old and new parties,” said Meechai whose CDC drafted the law.

But Meechai said if the amendment affected or delayed the road map to the next election, the delay could not be blamed on the original charter writers.

The CDC chief also responded negatively to another proposal proposed by Somsak to amend the 2017 Constitution , saying it was hard to amend the charter because it was passed in the referendum.

Thailand offers to help open US-N Korean dialogue amid nuclear tension

Published December 15, 2017 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/politics/30333983

Joseph Yun, the US Special Representative for North Korea Policy  (left), meets with Deputy Foreign Minister Veerasak Futrakul at the Foreign Ministry yesterday (courtesy of the Foreign Ministry)
Joseph Yun, the US Special Representative for North Korea Policy (left), meets with Deputy Foreign Minister Veerasak Futrakul at the Foreign Ministry yesterday (courtesy of the Foreign Ministry)

Thailand offers to help open US-N Korean dialogue amid nuclear tension

politics December 15, 2017 01:00

By THE NATION
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

THAILAND’S National Security Council (NSC) has urged the United States to keep a dialogue channel open with North Korea amid increased pressure by the international community on Pyongyang regarding its nuclear programme.

General Wallop Rohsanoh, the NSC secretary-general who held talks with US special envoy Joseph Yun yesterday, said Thailand was ready to help bring North Korea to the negotiating table if there is an opportunity.

Yun also met Deputy Foreign Minister Veerasak Futrakul to discuss the issue yesterday. While Yun reiterated that the US wished to lessen tensions through peaceful dialogue, Veerasak emphasised Thailand’s strict obligations under the UN Security Council resolutions.

“Thailand has also cooperated with the international community to push the DPRK to return to the dialogue process to denuclearise and lessen tensions in the Korean peninsula,” read the Foreign Ministry’s press release, referring to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the North’s official name.Yun and Veerasak at the Foreign Ministry yesterday (courtesy of the Foreign Ministry)

Meanwhile, Thailand has drastically reduced trade with North Korea amid mounting international pressure to isolate the pariah state, the government said yesterday.

Thailand is one of several Southeast Asian countries to host a North Korean embassy, and once enjoyed extensive economic ties with the reclusive regime.

But the Commerce Ministry yesterday said trade with Pyongyang had “plunged” and would soon be non-existent as Thailand complied with UN resolutions to cut off North Korea in response to its increasingly powerful missile and nuclear tests.

“It’s expected that by late 2017 there will be no export or import of goods between Thailand and North Korea,” said Pimchanok Vonkorpon, director of the Thai Commerce Ministry’s Trade Policy and Strategy Office.

Yun’s visit is part of his trip from Monday to today to Asia – including a stop in Japan – “to discuss ways to strengthen the pressure campaign following the DPRK’s latest ballistic missile test,” the US State Department said in an earlier statement.

A source at the Thai Commerce Ministry earlier said Thailand had fully complied with a UN Security Council resolution on North Korea and any additional request by the US would require the approval of the Thai government.

But sanctions against North Korea have started to bite.

The UN Security Council has ordered countries to stop providing guest-worker permits to North Koreans after Pyongyang’s sixth nuclear test in September.

Activist plans complaint based on multiple photos of luxury watches

Published December 15, 2017 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/politics/30333981

Activist plans complaint based on multiple photos of luxury watches

politics December 15, 2017 01:00

By THE NATION

ANTI-CORRUPTION ACTIVIST Srisuwan Janya said yesterday he would file an additional complaint with the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) against Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan over his possession of several extravagant watches, which allegedly were not reported to the agency.

Srisuwan, secretary-general of the Association to Protect the Thai Constitution, said he would submit photos to the NACC showing the deputy prime minister wearing the watches, which could then proceed based on its anti-corruption law.

Photos of Prawit wearing several luxurious watches on different occasions have gone viral on social media.

The controversy swamping the deputy prime minister began after he was spotted wearing what appeared to be a silver-and-black Richard Mille watch and a diamond ring during a group photo with the reshuffled Cabinet at Government House on December 4.

Meanwhile, Prawit kept silent on the issue after he was approached by reporters before and after a meeting at the Internal Security Command Operations Command.

Panthongtae wants to question more witnesses

Published December 15, 2017 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/politics/30333979

Panthongtae Shinawatra
Panthongtae Shinawatra

Panthongtae wants to question more witnesses

Breaking News December 14, 2017 20:02

By The Nation

A defence lawyer representing Panthongtae Shinawatra has requested the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to summon more witnesses for questioning in connection with money-laundering charges faced by the ex-premier’s son.

Lawyer Chumsai Sriyapai said the DSI needs to thoroughly question all witnesses concerning the charges before moving the case against Panthongtae forward. Panthongtae, son of ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra is accused of receiving ill-gotten funds from Vichai Krisadathanont, former real estate tycoon, who was convicted over his company getting multi-billion-baht fraudulent loans from state-owned Krung Thai Bank.

According to his lawyer, Panthongtae dismissed the DSI charges as groundless and suggested that the DSI process was not transparent and was unfair. The lawyer therefore requested the agency to summon more witnesses for questioning to prove that he was not guilty.

The DSI said it would hold a meeting of investigators and public prosecutors to discuss Panthongtae’s request to question additional witnesses in the case and will ensure fairness for the accused.

Meechai rejects amending Political Party Act, Constitution in election lead-up

Published December 15, 2017 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/politics/30333978

Meechai Ruchupan
Meechai Ruchupan

Meechai rejects amending Political Party Act, Constitution in election lead-up

Breaking News December 14, 2017 19:57

By The Nation

Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC) chairman Meechai Ruchupan on Thursday voiced opposition to a proposal to amend the Political Party Act to nullify party memberships for all existing parties in order to avoid disadvantaging new parties.

“It is not fair for political party members to have their membership status terminated,” he said, “although I admit that there is an advantage and disadvantage between the old and new parties,” said Meechai whose CDC drafted the law.

Early this week, Paiboon Nititawan, a former member of the now-defunct National Reform Council, proposed an amendment to the Act. He noted that the new act recognises the membership status of all who belong to existing political parties even if they have not paid their membership fees, while demanding members of new parties pay a fee that would then become the seed money for the registration process required under the new organic law.

Paiboon said the requirements reflect unfair treatment of all parties.

But Meechai said if the amendment affected or delayed the road map to the next election, the delay could not be blamed on the original charter writers.

The CDC chief also responded negatively to another proposal proposed by Somsak Thepsuthin, a veteran politician from Matchima Thippathai Party, to amend the 2017 Constitution to allow MP candidates to run as independents in the election rather than having to be attached to a political party.

“It is hard to amend the charter because it was passed in the referendum,” CDC chief Meechai.

Red-shirt leader Jatuporn jailed for one year for 2009 defamation

Published December 15, 2017 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/politics/30333976

Red-shirt leader Jatuporn jailed for one year for 2009 defamation

politics December 14, 2017 19:34

By The Nation

The Supreme Court has sentenced red shirt leader Jatuporn Prompan to one year without suspension in a defamation case filed by Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva.

Jatuporn, chairman of the United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), has been in jail since July related to another defamation case filed by Abhisit.

Jutaporn made the remarks about Abhisit in 2009 while on a stage. The court ruled that he did not have good intentions in criticising Abhisit but rather defamed him in a way that could instigate hatred for him.

The court therefore ruled that Jatuporn was guilty of defaming Abhisit. It changed the jail term imposed by the first court and Appeal Court from two years to one year as Jatuporn conceded that it was he on the stage.

Jatuporn attended the court, but made no comments other than remarking on his weight loss while in jail.

Prawit’s bling could tarnish entire govt’s credibility

Published December 15, 2017 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/politics/30333908

Prawit’s bling could tarnish entire govt’s credibility

politics December 14, 2017 09:54

By Political Desk
The Nation

3,548 Viewed

There is no doubt that Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan has been Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s Achilles’ heel since the junta took control of the country more than three years ago.

From his expensive trip to Hawai to attend an informal meeting of Asean defence ministers in October last year to the latest controversial incident regarding his possession of what appears to be a multimillion-baht watch and diamond ring, Prawit has often been in the public spotlight.

Prawit, who is also defence minister, got away with the former incident as the Office of the Auditor-General found no irregularities in the Bt21-million trip, but observers believe that he may be vulnerable, and indeed his political survival may be at stake, given his apparent penchant for expensive jewellery.

The National Anti Corruption Commission (NACC) last week gave Prawit 30 days to explain how he had obtained a flamboyant Richard Mille wristwatch and diamond ring after the luxury items raised widespread suspicion about the general’s “unusual wealth”.

Prawit has yet submit a letter of explanation to the NACC, but there are three possible ways for Prawit to explain the issue.

First, the items belong to him but he acquired them after declaring his assets to NACC in 2014 when he took office. However, he would still face serious scrutiny over how much they cost and whose money had bought the watch and the ring, which by some estimates would have cost about Bt10 million.

The question has to be asked: Is it reasonable that Prawit, who declared a total of Bt87 million in assets to the NACC, bought the jewellery?

Second, reports this week have speculated that Prawit would tell the NACC that the ring belongs to his mom and the watch to a friend.

In a legal technical sense, he could get away with such an explanation, but the most important thing will be if society at large believes him. In Thai culture, the slick hero “Sri Tanonchai” is a fixture in a series of Thai humorous stories depicting him as the prototypical clever trickster – can Prawit pull off a similar role in the eyes of the public? Is there anybody, in the entire world, who would lend someone else a watch of such value?

The origin of the ring could be as complicated for Prawit. The deputy prime minister has told the media that the ring was “old”. The question is, how old is it? Did he own it before declaring his assets in 2014 or acquire it after? If before, why didn’t he declare it. If “old” is not older than three years, and Prawit acquired the ring in the interim, he will be questioned about where he obtained the money for its purchase.

The third possibility would be the safest, with Prawit claiming he obtained both items after 2014.

In this scenario, the ring could be explained as a family inheritance that he simply had not declared as of yet.

But for the watch, if he bought it after 2014, he will be questioned about the source of the money – and whether he really did buy it. It should not be difficult to trace the purchase back to the shop where it was bought. If it turns out that he was given it as a gift, that in itself could land him in trouble for violating the anti-graft law.

According to Article 103 of the NACC Act, civil servants and political office holders are not allowed to receive money or benefits aside from those that are permitted by law or worth Bt3,000 or less.

Regardless of what explanation Prawit chooses, there will inevitably be one more question: Will he be able to convince the NACC?

Vilas Chanpitak, a Democrat Party member with a record for busting graft, has suggested that the NACC itself should be dissolved if the agency believes the explanation.

This could be a significant test for the anti-graft agency and whether members of the public can really place their faith in it to cleanse society of corruption.

The NACC is already being viewed sceptically because its chairman, Pol General Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit, is a former prime minister’s secretary-general attached to Prawit.

Prayut, who has not expressed any concerns about his senior aide and has said the entire issue is an attempt to divide him and Prawit, would be mistaken to underestimate the power of society regarding the issue.

When the powers-that-be flaunt their lavish lifestyles, it cannot be avoided that members of the public will speculate about the origins of such “unusual wealth”, particularly within a regime that has made the fight against corruption a cornerstone of its legitimacy. Amid the economic downturn, how will people tolerate the political elites’ displays of such exorbitant wealth while they are still suffering from bread-and-butter issues?

PM promises villagers he will consider staying in power longer

Published December 15, 2017 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/politics/30333882

  • Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha performs a northeastern traditional group dance with local residents during his trip to Kalasin province yesterday.

PM promises villagers he will consider staying in power longer

politics December 14, 2017 01:00

By The Nation

2,928 Viewed

FOR THE FIRST TIME in more than three years, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday positively responded to a request for him to extend his stay in office during his visit to the northeastern province of Kalasin.

“We would like to see the premier in office for another 10 years,” said one unidentified villager, while Prayut told them that if they |wanted him to stay, he would consider it.

The premier attempted to charm provincial voters as he announced a series of multi-billion-baht investment programmes to tackle poverty, water resources and other local issues.

The premier also unveiled plans to invest about Bt4 billion to improve Kalasin’s water resource management system and |implement other measures to reduce poverty as the province |is ranked among the country’s poorest.

Prayut told villagers that his government would help them raise more livestock instead of planting more agricultural crops, which are being affected by depressed farm prices worldwide.

Wearing a Phu Tai local shirt and dancing with local performers, Prayut apparently enjoyed spending time in Kalasin.

Besides meeting with local people, Prayut also gave away dozens of cows, buffaloes and agricultural tools to farmers before visiting an irrigation development project in the afternoon.

He also visited the Phu Tai Cultural Centre, a local weaving cooperative under the royal patronage of HM the Queen |Sirikit.

After Prayut announced the general election would be held next year, he has appeared to have planned more brief field trips to faraway provinces.

Last week, he visited the southern province of Trang to inspect flood management and other works, but in Kalasin he focused on local development as well as contacts with local residents.

While his trip to Songkhla and Pattani in late November did not end well after confrontations between villagers and officers, Prayut seemed to perform better in Kalasin as he cheerfully performed local traditional dances with residents.

He also told villagers that the government had allocated Bt305 million for irrigation development and Bt1.4 billion for three road construction projects.

Relations based on pledge

Earlier this week, the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council decided to restore full political contact with Thailand after suspending relations following the coup in 2014.

The EU cited Prayut’s pledge to hold the polls in November 2018 during a visit to the US as a major factor for restoring full political contact.

In addition, the EU will explore possibilities to resume negotiations with Thailand on a Free Trade Agreement, after talks were |suspended more than three years ago.

At present, the EU is Thailand’s fourth biggest trading partner and a major foreign investor in the country.

Prayut has also expressed hope that the EU will remove the “yellow card” concerning problems from Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fisheries as Thailand had taken legal and other measures to address the issue.

 

Prawit caught red-handed? More watch photos emerge

Published December 15, 2017 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/politics/30333880

Deputy PM and Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan is seen wearing what look like different models of multimillion-baht Richard Mille watches on two separate occasions.
Deputy PM and Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan is seen wearing what look like different models of multimillion-baht Richard Mille watches on two separate occasions.

Prawit caught red-handed? More watch photos emerge

politics December 14, 2017 01:00

By WASAMON AUDJARINT
THE NATION

4,427 Viewed

Amid social media furore, NACC ‘ready to probe’ new allegations.

IT NEVER rains but it pours for Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan. While he has yet to clarify his possession of a seemingly multimillion-baht watch, social media users have raised questions about seven other watches he is seen wearing at recent events.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), which is investigating the premier’s respected senior aide, yesterday said that it was ready to probe any new allegations.

Deputy PM and Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan is seen wearing what look like different models of multimillion-baht Richard Mille watches on two separate occasions. The black-and-red model, left, was spotted during a scholarship granting event in September. The silver-and-black model, right, was seen during a Cabinet photo opportunity on December 4. 

“We have to look through his asset-declaration history and see if he has already declared those watches,” said NACC acting secretary-general Worawit Sukboon yesterday.

In his four declarations during his off-and-on membership of governments from 2008 to 2014, Prawit has never declared any single asset worth more than Bt200,000 to the NACC. His latest declaration valued his total total assets at Bt87 million.

However, pictures show him wearing what look like two Richard Mille watches that are estimated to cost between Bt4 million and Bt10 million. The first watch was spotted when he took part in a group photo with the reshuffled Cabinet at Government House December 4.

A photo of him shielding his eyes with his hand, revealing the silver-black watch and a diamond ring, sparked controversy.

The second watch was revealed yesterday when the Facebook page CSI LA posted photos of Prawit back in September during a Five Provinces Bordering Forest Preservation Foundation event he hosted.

Giving away compensation and scholarships with a smiling face, Prawit was seen wearing what could be a different Richard Mille watch model with a red and black body.

The page’s author speculated that the model might be the Richard Mille RM 030, which normally costs around Bt4 million.

The Matter, the alternative news agency, on Tuesday also presented photos of Prawit on nine occasions from 2014 to this year wearing different watches. Although the definition of the photos was limited, three of the watches could be the same while the rest looked distinct.

The Matter asked its followers to help identify the watches and their guesses centred on high-end brands such as Patek Philippe, Franck Muller, Audemars Piguet and Rolex, with prices ranging from Bt700,000 to Bt2 million.

Prawit has kept mum on the issue since the day he was discovered wearing the extravagant watch last week.

Yesterday, without speaking to the press, he went to receive an honorary doctorate degree in public administration from Nakhon Phanom University.

He had also stressed shortly after the controversy began that he would only explain his possession of the watch to the NACC, not the public.

Local media reported that Prawit planned to justify himself by saying that the watch was borrowed from a businessman friend and the diamond ring was inherited from his mother.

He had planned to send an explanatory letter to the NACC yesterday, but he has not yet done so.

The NACC said last Thursday that Prawit would have 30 days to justify himself.

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