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Thailand's junta chief said Tuesday he had asked the king for permission to lift martial law, after coming under pressure from foreign governments, but added that the military would retain sweeping powers. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha said the ailing 87-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej would now decide whether to lift martial law, which would be replaced with a new executive order. "A new order (to replace martial law) will be issued very soon," the former army chief said. Thailand has been under increased pressure from western allies, businesses and tour operators to lift martial law which was decreed shortly before the military seized power in a coup last May.
Deflation in the eurozone eased in March, official data showed Tuesday, reducing concerns that the economy faces a dangerous spiral after four straight months of falling consumer prices. The threat of deflation in the eurozone remains a global concern, with fears that a huge bond-buying spree by the European Central Bank came too late to fight off the negative effects of falling prices. In January, the ECB set out its huge bond-buying programme, an audacious and controversial scheme to ward off deflation and stimulate growth in the eurozone, which expanded a weak 0.9 percent in 2014. On Monday, Fitch ratings agency said a renewed eurozone debt crisis was the biggest risk to the global economy, even greater than unstable oil prices and despite the ECB's quantitative easing programme.
The extremist Islamic State group Tuesday executed at least 30 civilians, including two children, in a raid on a regime-held village in Syria's central province of Hama, a monitor said. IS "executed at least 30 people, including women and children, by burning, beheading, and firing on them" in the village of Mabujeh, said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. IS has regularly targeted minority sects in Syria, especially Shiite Muslims it accuses of apostasy, as well as Sunnis who it alleges have violated its interpretation of the religion.