Playing Chicken

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has carefully cultivated the impression that Thailand is somehow immune to the ills that have afflicted much of the region: terrorism, economic turmoil, SARS. So it was no surprise to hear him declare last week Thailand's poultry industry—Asia's largest chicken exporter—safe from the avian-flu outbreak sweeping the region. On TV, the Prime Minister and his Cabinet cheerfully tucked into a variety of spicy Thai chicken dishes. Even the European Union's Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, David Byrne, was convinced, asserting: "There absolutely is no evidence of the existence of bird flu in...

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