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Center against violence in south.

Posted by hasekamp on 31 October 2006 at 10:49 AM
The Cabinet approve Tuesday Nonthaburi Governor Pranai Suwannarat as chief of revived centre aimed at quelling violence in south. Deputy Interior Minister Banyat Chansena said the Cabinet approved Pranai as the director of the centre that was abolised during Thaksin government. The centre, Southern Border Administration Centre, will be renamed to Southern Border Development Centre. The center, initially formed in 1984, was credited with keeping Muslim separatist movements in the south under control and critics of Thaksin ascribed the violence which erupted in early 2004 as partly due to its abolition. (Source: The Nation)


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Queen concerned about dancers

Posted by hasekamp on 31 October 2006 at 10:40 AM
Prompted by television images of female dancers in provocative dresses at a Buddhist charity session during the annual sighting of the Naga fireballs, Her Majesty the Queen has issued a command cautioning relevant authorities to be strict with such acts. Minister of Culture, Khunying Khaisri Sri-aroon, said that Her Majesty did not condemn any individual agencies or the dancers, but commented that: "Buddhists in general should always bear in mind what is good for the image of the country. Any shows or performances organised in association with any Buddhist festival should be held with respect for Lord Buddha and Buddhism," Khaisri quoted
the Queen as saying in the statement. Khaisri said she regarded that the media's role in publishing or broadcasting such images as a very crucial factor. The minister said she personally felt there should be laws passed to control the publication or broadcasting of such material. The dancers, widely known as "coyote dancers", were seen in provocative dresses and dancing with sexually explicit moves. (Source: The Nation)


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Flooding brings disease

Posted by hasekamp on 29 October 2006 at 10:02 AM
Flood victims in Central Thailand continue to come down with disease, according to Public-Health officials. The number of sufferers has topped half a million.
And irrigation officials warn that floods could worsen with the approach of Typhoon Cimarron late next week. The typhoon is forming in the Pacific near the Philippines and is expected to hit Thailand early November. The Meteorology Department says the magnitude of Typhoon Cimarron could not be determined until Tuesday. Meanwhile, Ministry of Public Health said that more than 574,000 people had been treated for diseases brought on by flooding.
Athlete's foot is the most common affliction, followed by rashes, colds and fever. Disease will get worse due to higher concentrations of pollution in water. There is a rish for sickness from leptospirosis and digestive diseases. One way to reduce water contamination is more ablution barges. The barges collect and dispose of waste from flood areas before it can pollute waterways. Several have been sent to Ayutthaya and Angthong. (Source: The Nation)


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Bird flu vaccine plant

Posted by hasekamp on 28 October 2006 at 11:18 AM
Public Health Minister Mongkol na Songkhla yesterday gave the go-ahead to plan for a vaccine plant to produce both influenza and bird-flu vaccines for humans in case of a global pandemic. "The world's total capacity to produce the two vaccines is only 300 million doses and if a global pandemic really happens, no one will ever give us some," Mongkol said after chairing a ministry meeting to review the bird-flu situation. "How could we survive?" he said. However, at least three to four years are needed for construction of the plant and training of its workers before any vaccines can be produced. "Well, it's better than not starting to do something," said Dr Phaijit Varachit, director-general of the Medical Science Department.
The cost of a plant with the capacity to produce two million doses of vaccine per year could be at least Bt600 million, he said. The ministry had already signed an agreement with China to build a vaccine plant, presumably in Saraburi, but the plan was suspended after the September coup.
To set up its own vaccine plant, Thailand has to start from scratch given the "zero" expertise it possesses, Mongkol said. (Source: The Nation)


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Back to normal soon?

Posted by hasekamp on 28 October 2006 at 11:08 AM
Foreign Affairs Minister Nitya Piboonsongkram has affirmed at the 61st Anniversary of the United Nations (UN) Conference that Thailand will speedily restore democracy and will definitely hold the general election within one year. Mr. Nitya said that Thailand willingly supports human rights and the development of peace and security as these are the top priorities of the UN. He further explained the political situation in Thailand, saying the country will try to restore democracy as soon as possible and draft the new constitution by adhering to the strengths of democracy and the improved inspection system of balance. (Source: Public Relations Department)


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Staying in a Temple

Posted by hasekamp on 28 October 2006 at 11:00 AM
A temple in Chiang Mai is turning its premises - and, if necessary, even its crematorium - into a lodging of last resort for visitors to the flora expo who are unable to find room in a hotel. The temple does not mind having visitors although they must observe one ground rule - pack their pillows and make way when there is a funeral rite, said Phra Kru Baideeka Prasert Santipalo, secretary to an abbot of Wat Jet Yod temple. Wat Jet Yod, located near the superhighway, is among 20 temples which have agreed to accommodate tourists who could not manage to get a room at any of the 550 hotels and guest houses in the northern province, which were either overbooked or too expensive for them. Like some hotels which refer visitors to partner hotels when they are fully booked, Wat Jet Yod has also formed a similar "chain" of temples to take guests.
But the referrals are made when even its crematorium is occupied. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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In search of faults Thaksin

Posted by hasekamp on 27 October 2006 at 10:49 AM
Thai investigators are struggling to find definite evidence that ex-Premier Thaksin Shinawatra is guilty of graft. Gen Sonthi Boonyaratglin, who launched last month's coup to oust Mr Thaksin, said it was "difficult to implicate" him in any major corruption cases. The news is a major set-back for the coup leaders, who cited massive government corruption as one of the main reasons for the takeover. Speculation is mounting that Mr Thaksin might try to return to Thailand soon. He is currently staying with his daughter in London. On Thursday Mr Thaksin's wife, Pojaman Shinawatra, met with Prem Tinsulanonda, the top adviser to Thailand's revered king, in what reports suggest was an attempt to ease the way for her husband to fly back to Bangkok. But in an interview with the English-language Nation newspaper, Gen Sonthi said: "If he's really concerned about the country, he shouldn't try to come back at present." Asked what would happen if Mr Thaksin "just got on a plane", Gen Sonthi said: "It wouldn't be allowed to land". (Source: BBC News)


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Phuket Vegetarian Festival

Posted by hasekamp on 26 October 2006 at 13:53 PM
The annual Phuket Vegetarian Festival, complete with face-piercing spirit mediums, is being held from October 22 to 30 at shrines in and around Phuket City. The traditional Chinese festival emphasizes merit making and ritual cleansing of the body. Participants are invited to wear white clothes and abstain from meat, sex, and foods with strong odors for the duration of the festival. They are also asked to use only the traditional red, ceremonial firecrackers in strips. A special plea was made for parents to be extra watchful of their children\92s actions and safety throughout the event.
A special celebration to commemorate the 60th anniversary of His Majesty The King\92s accession to the throne was held on October 23.
Shrines will host daily activities during the week-long festival, with highlights including the usual fare: devotees walking on hot coals, piercing their cheeks and climbing ladders with bladed rungs. For more information see: this site. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Reward for hornbill expert

Posted by hasekamp on 26 October 2006 at 13:46 PM
Pilai Poonswad, 60, has dedicated her life to saving the hornbill, a large, magnificent forest bird, some species of which are endangered or facing extinction. For almost 30 years, she has trekked and camped in forests to study how hornbills live their lives, what they eat, what their breeding needs are and what kills them, in the hope of conserving them. Thanks to Ms Pilai's work, the Thai public now knows this rare bird, once thought to have become extinct, much better. We have also learned that as hornbills need a large area of fertile forest that can provide fruits for feeding and wood cavities for nesting, they can serve as an indicator of a forest's health. In fact, as seed dispersers and predators, hornbills themselves help maintain the forests' ecological balance. Now she has been recognized for her efforts, having won a prestigious Rolex Award for Enterprise.
Ms Pilai set up the Thailand Hornbill Project to study the biology and ecology of hornbills in 1979. It later became the Hornbill Research Foundation, in 1993. Ms Pilai is the first Thai woman to receive the award, which has been given to 55 people since its inception in 1976. The award aims to recognise people who break new ground in areas which advance human knowledge and well-being. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Panda Conference in Chiang Mai

Posted by hasekamp on 26 October 2006 at 13:32 PM
China has chosen Thailand's famous northern resort province of Chiang Mai as venue for the 2006 International Conference on Research and Breeding Techniques on Giant Panda, which will be held next month. The Chiang Mai Panda Conference, 17th of its kind and the first to be held outside China, is set for November 12-19 near the home to Chuang Chuang, a male, and Lin Hui, a female, a pair of giant pandas on loan from China, Chiang Mai Zoo director Thanapat Pongpamorn said on Thursday. Apart from giant panda specialists from China (where the rare species was originally bred), representatives from institutions housing giant pandas in six other countries -Austria, Canada, France, Japan, United States, and Thailand- will participate in the event, the director said. He said the conference will provide an opportunity for panda researchers to report on advances in research on pandas, a species they consider as the world's most spectacular animals, now on the verge of extinction, and exchange information on captive panda conservation strategies and techniques, as well as provide a platform to discuss domestic and international collaboration efforts. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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City Pillar to be renovated

Posted by hasekamp on 25 October 2006 at 15:43 PM
The City Pillar in Bangkok is now undergoing its first grand renovation in 20 years. "The 224-year-old pillar has become dilapidated. We can't let this sacred pillar deteriorate like this, so a face-lift is needed now," said Lamom Kongsuwan, director of the Bangkok City Pillar Shrine. The shrine is operated by the War Veterans Organisation, which has overseen it since 1984. The City Pillar Shrine was declared a national historic site in 1975, so experts from the Fine Arts Department must oversee the renovation, and every step of its progress will be reported to His Majesty the King. The project includes both City Pillars (the second was added by King Mongkut), the shrine pavilion, the statues of guardian spirits and the wall mural in the guardian spirits pavilion. It has a budget of Bt6 million. The area around the shrine is being landscaped at a cost of Bt11 million.
In 1782, King Rama I had the first City Pillar erected in front of the Grand Palace during Bangkok's construction as the new capital of Siam. The City Pillar Shrine was reconstructed by King Rama IV, who added another pillar to the original. The pillars were last renovated in 1986. The pillars will be dried and re-lacquered before new gilding was applied. The metal covering the second pillar will be removed before gilding. (Source: The Nation)


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Mangrove forests to be grown

Posted by hasekamp on 25 October 2006 at 15:39 PM
Mangrove forests will be grown in five coastal provinces along the Gulf of Thailand, including Bangkok, to slow down coastal erosion, which each year eats up around 12 metres of shoreline. The Marine and Coastal Resources Department's acting director-general Samran Rakchart said a 41-million-baht budget would be distributed among local administration organisations in five provinces: Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram, Phetchaburi and Bangkok, where coastal erosion was said to be severe. "Mangroves have proven to be an effective tool in protecting the shoreline from erosion," said Mr Samran, citing the mangroves plantation project that helped stop coastal erosion in Samut Sakhon province.
We knew for quite some time that mangrove forests are beneficial for the coatal ares. Nevertheless companies like shrimp farm have ruthlessly - with the official consent of the authorities - removed almost all mangrove forests within Thailand. Is Thailand getting wise about its environment after all? (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Troops are back in Bangkok

Posted by hasekamp on 25 October 2006 at 15:32 PM
The Third Army sent a battalion of troops to Bangkok last night following fears of the return of deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and protests against the election of Meechai Ruchupan as National Legislative Assembly (NLA) president. An army source said the troops were sent from Nakhon Sawan, the closest contingent of the Third Army to Bangkok. Another four battalions were reported to be moving down from Phitsanulok. Army chief Gen Sonthi Boonyaratkalin has instructed the First Army, especially units based in Bangkok, to be on alert to deal with any untoward developments over the coming week, the source said. For its part, the Fourth Army in charge of the South has been instructed to step up road checkpoints in the region for fear that Mr Thaksin might sneak back by car into the country from Malaysia via Singapore, the source added. The precautions followed unconfirmed reports that Mr Thaksin had travelled to Singapore from England, where he has been in self-imposed exile since he was ousted in the Sept 19 coup. (Source: The Bangkok Post)
Our comment: We can hardly believe our eyes. Out of fear that one single, unarmed, Thai national comes home the army is being sent into the streets of Bangkok and elsewhere into the country? What can one say to that?


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Course for Phuket drivers

Posted by hasekamp on 25 October 2006 at 15:25 PM
One hundred Phuket taxi drivers, tuk tuk drivers and airport limousine drivers will have the chance to take a crash-course in English language and in hospitality on November 3, as the Tourism Authority of Thailand Region 4 office holds its first training session for the livery of Phuket. Drivers who complete the course will be awarded a certificate that they can post in their taxis to assure tourists that they have met the standards required. "We have received many letters from tourists who visited Phuket complaining about how bad the taxi [and tuk tuk] services is, and how they being overcharged, so we would like to conduct this course to improve the quality of drivers in Phuket," said Suwalai Pinpradab, Director of TAT\92s Region 4 Off ice. English-language lessons will be taught by a teacher from British Curriculum International School, and drivers who pass the course will receive an English pocket guide specifically tailored for taxi drivers. Well-known speaker and radio commentator Apichart Dumdee will present a seminar on how to provide good service and how to be a good host. However, Suwalai said, "Drivers who pass the course and receive a certificate but are reported by tourists for overcharging or being rude will have their certificate taken away."
For your information: Complaints can be lodged in Phuket by calling the TAT at 076-211036, 076-212213 or 076-217138, or by email to tatphket@tat.or.th. The TAT will investigate complaints before taking action against a driver. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Crocodiles in your garden

Posted by hasekamp on 23 October 2006 at 10:48 AM
The Fisheries Department yesterday warned residents in flood-hit central provinces to be extra careful of crocodiles that have broken loose from farms. Jaranthada Karnasuta, director-general of the department, said yesterday that most of the roaming crocodiles are from illegal farms which lacked proper preventive measures, since the reptiles in registered establishments had already been removed to higher ground to stop them from escaping. Flood victims should avoid going out at night on paddle boats as they might encounter the crocodiles, he said, adding that it would be safer if people could build fences around their houses. On the bright side, escaped crocodiles from illegal farms could be a windfall for flood victims if they could catch and sell them, he said. (We find this a very dangerous advice! Comment by Hasekamp Net) In Ayutthaya, crocodiles about two metres long were spotted in Bang Ban district during the flooding. Many temples in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya district faced tough times, since most merit-makers cancelled robe-giving ceremonies during the floods. Most tour agencies also cancelled trips to the province.
Run-off from the Chao Phraya and Noi rivers have inundated more than 50,000 rai of farmland and many chicken farms in Phak Hai district. Farm owners reported heavy losses, with the deaths of 5,000 to 7,000 chickens on each farm. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Flood update

Posted by hasekamp on 22 October 2006 at 11:42 AM
More than 30,000 people are suffering from severe stress caused by the extensive flooding since late August, the Public Health Ministry revealed yesterday. Ministry spokesman Supan Srithamma said medical mobile units in the flood-affected areas found 30,350 people suffering from high stress levels due to loss of relatives or property, and seven per cent of them had fallen ill. Between August 27 and last Thursday, 104 people had drowned - mostly children. Most of the drownings took place in Phichit and Ayutthaya, with 11 cases in each province, followed by 10 cases each in Sukhothai and Nakhon Sawan, Supan said. He urged residents not to allow their children to play in floodwaters. The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department director-general, Anucha Mokawet, said that since August the floods had affected 3,169,571 people in 46 provinces, 16 of which were still submerged. He said 104 people were killed and put the estimated losses at Bt334.2 million. Meanwhile, Southern Thailand was warned of possible floods and landslides in the next two days.
As for the high tide from October 23-25, Bangkok has prepared schools as temporary shelters - if a resident evacuation was needed. The city and Silpakorn University will survey 33 riverside communities from today until Tuesday for a workshop on Wednesday, aiming to improve the quality of housing and living as a long-term solution. The Bangkok governor will then submit their report for the government's consideration to amend laws in order to allow people to live by the river, but not build homes too close to passenger boat routes, obstruct flood-tackling efforts, or cause pollution. It is estimated the city needs Bt300 million for fixing infrastructure and rehabilitation, Anan said. (Source: The Nation)


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Terms of interim government

Posted by hasekamp on 20 October 2006 at 14:30 PM
PM's Office Minister Thirapat Serirangsan clarified Friday his remarks about the term of the interim government and dismissed speculation about trying to cling to power. Thirapat triggered criticism on Tuesday after he said the government might stay in office for 17 months instead of one year, as many previously assumed. "The time for this government hinges on the timetable to write the new charter and not an arbritrary decision by anyone," Thirapat said. Should the charter writing be completed ahead of schedule, the government will be gone in less than a year, he added. He outlined key steps and dates to monitor the drafting of the new charter as follows:

1. Appointment of the Cabinet on October 8.
2. Formation of the National People's Assembly (NPA), comprising 2,000 members and expecting to complete on January 4, 2007. The date can be advanced forward if the Council for National Security (CNS) deems appropriate.
3. NPA's nomination of 200 candidates for the Constitution Drafting Council (CDC). The nomination process must completed in seven days.
4. Of the 200 candidates, the CNS will choose 100 for the royal appointment to the CDC. This should take about one month.
5. Activation of the CDC to start actual writing the new charter. This should happen around February, 2007.
6. Completion of the drafting process in six months. This will be on or before August 1, 2007. The actual writing can be cut by up to 90 days if charter writers limit their debate on amendments to the 1997 Constitution.
7. Submit the charter draft for referendum no later than 30 days. This will be around September 1, 2007.
8. Should the draft win approval by the referendum, the CDC will proceed to complete the drafting of organic laws. This will be around November 1, 2007. The writing of organic laws will take 90 days, discounting the 30 days alloted for the referendum.
9. The next general election is expected to take place no later than December 15, 2007.
10. Convene the Parliament on January 15, 2008. The House of Representatives will elect its speaker before proceeding to name the new prime minister. This is expected to happen on February 15, 2008.
The new prime minister is expected to spend one to two weeks forming the government. And the interim government will expire around February 28, 2008. (Source: The Nation)


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Unidentified tsunami victims buried

Posted by hasekamp on 20 October 2006 at 14:25 PM
Three religious ceremonies - one Buddhist, one Christian and one Muslim - were performed October 16 in preparation for burying 422 unidentified tsunami victims in Baan Bang Muang Cemetery. Pol Col Khemmarin Hassiri, Superintendent of the Thai Tsunami Victim Identification unit, said: "These 422 bodies have not been claimed and we have no information about them, so we will bury them at Baan Bang Muang Cemetery. Normally we would return them to the relatives, but we are unable to identify the families of these victims. As a part of this process we will place each body in a bag with a code number, and put that number on a plaque on the outside of the coffin so we can go back and identify any of the victims if we need to later. We are also going to submit DNA samples from each body to Chiang Mai University for analysis."
Col Khemmarin said the victims will be the first buried in the new cemetery. "We will finish burying them by the beginning of December; we must have completed this by the time the cemetery opens on December 26," he said. "We are still trying to identify them, but we must keep the bodies in refrigerated rooms until they are ready to go into the graves," he added. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Royal help for flooding

Posted by hasekamp on 18 October 2006 at 11:42 AM
Their Majesties the King and Queen sent more relief yesterday to help alleviate the hardships being endured by flood victims in Angthong and Nakhon Sawan. On behalf of His Majesty, Disathon Watcharoethai, the deputy secretary-general of the Rachaprachanukroh Foundation, provided 2,000 sets of household supplies to villagers in Angthong town's tambon Sala Daeng and Pa Ngew. His Majesty had already sent 4,500 relief bags to Angthong residents via the foundation. Her Majesty the Queen sent Phaen Wannamethi, deputy secretary-general of the Thai Red Cross, to provide 1,045 relief bags to flood-affected residents in Nakhon Sawan's Krok Phra district.
Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont said, after yesterday's Cabinet meeting, the government would arrange regular press conferences to inform the public about flood severity, measures to assist victims and rehabilitation plans.
Meanwhile, Bangkok Governor Apirak Kosayodhin said the water situation during the high-tide peak next week between Oct 23 and 25 would not be as bad as previously thought, as a low-pressure system had moved south and cut rainfall. Water volume running through the capital was 4,700 cubic metres per second, while the increase in water volume in Nakhon Sawan was declining, Apirak said. Bangkok will add another 10 centimetres to its flood barriers.
In Suphan Buri, the city resembled a ghost town with closed shops and roads under 80-centimetres of water. The local off-road car club sent 15 vehicles to give residents a lift around the city free-of-charge, while a hospital sent a medical unit to Naza Mall as the hospital was inaccessible due to flooding.
In Phitsanulok, worst-hit Bang Rakham residents complained they had suffered for nearly three months. Local administrators had given then rice four times, but each was limited to 3.75 kilos of rice per family. So many adults were forced to only eat twice a day. (Source: The Nation)


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Budget airlines want to go back

Posted by hasekamp on 18 October 2006 at 11:38 AM
Low-cost carriers said Wednesday they want to move their operations back to Bangkok's old airport, citing increased costs at the capital's new international airport. "The new airport is getting busy with more traffic, while our operation costs are rising," said Tassapon Bijleveld, chief executive officer of budget airline Thai Air Asia. "Consequently, every low-cost airline would like to discuss the possibility with airport officials of moving back to Don Muang," he said. The new three-billion-dollar Suvarnabhumi airport officially opened to much fanfare less than three weeks ago, replacing the creaking Don Muang airport. Suvarnabhumi, or "golden land", airport is expected to handle 38 million passengers in its first year, rising to 45 million passengers per year in the future. Airport officials have already announced plans to build a 16-million-dollar terminal to cater to budget carriers within 16 months. They are still debating possible uses for decades-old Don Muang airport. "The final decision will be based on the economic value if we operate two separate airports - Don Muang and Suvarnabhumi - at the same time." (Source: The Nation)


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New book by Princess

Posted by hasekamp on 17 October 2006 at 22:33 PM
Set to be this year's bestseller is Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn's Krua Sra Pathum, a cookbook-cum-2007 diary, which will be launched today at the Book Fair, held at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre.
The book contains 12 royal recipes in the Princess' own handwriting accompanied by personal notes with royal humour. The cookbook-cum-diary also features photographs of the late Princess Mother cooking as well as Princess Sirindhorn herself, in apron and tousled hair, busy in the kitchen showing readers how to prepare each dish step-by-step. Apart from doing the cooking and tasting for the book Krua Sra Pathum, meaning Sra Pathum cuisine, the Princess also took some of the photographs herself. After the book launch, Krua Sra Pathum, priced at 299 baht a copy, will be available at all leading bookstores.
The proceeds will go to the museum project in memory of Queen Savang Vadhana, the Queen Grandmother, at the Sra Pathum Palace. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Thaksin may return

Posted by hasekamp on 15 October 2006 at 11:14 AM
Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra can 'come home', but it would be better for him to wait until martial law is lifted. Defense Minister Boonrawd Somtat said Sunday that ousted ex-premier Thaksin is welcome to return home 'as a Thai citizen' but it is better that he should wait until martial law, imposed following the September 19 coup, is lifted. It is up to Mr. Thaksin himself to consider whether it is appropriate for him to return to Thailand now and whether his return could severely stir the waters, Gen. Boonrawd said. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Floods until late November

Posted by hasekamp on 14 October 2006 at 12:44 PM
Floods in provinces along the banks of the Chao Phraya river are likely to persist until late November due to the continuing high volume of run-off from the North, according to Samart Chokkanapitak, director-general of the Irrigation Department. But aerial surveys showed that some inner areas in these provinces could be used to retain excess water, and the department plans to divert water to them at a level that would not damage rice fields, he added. Army Chief of Staff Gen Montri Sangkhasap, in his capacity as director of the army's Public Disaster Mitigation Centre, said the army is mulling the use of a reservoir in the 2nd Cavalry Division in Sanam Pao as a water retention pond to help ease floods in the area.
In Nakhon Sawan, flood levels are still high and seem unlikely to recede anytime soon, while the Chao Phraya river surged and spilled over an embankment of sandbags, flooding a hotel in the municipality. The floods made the Nakhon Sawan-Chumsaeng road impassable. Five two-foot long crocodiles broke loose from a farm yesterday, and only one of them was recaptured.
In Ang Thong, Gen Naphon Bunthap, deputy chief aide-de-camp, said Her Majesty the Queen told relevant agencies to construct permanent shelters with raised floors to accommodate people made homeless by floods. They will be located on a 15-rai area in Moo 8 village in tambon Posa in Muang district.
In Uthai Thani, floods forced staff of the provincial transport terminal to move their operations to the side of the Phadung Phan road.
In Nonthaburi's Sai Noi district, flood victims suffered unpleasant smells from several days of stagnating floodwaters. In Chai Nat, villages in Sapphaya district were submerged by water at levels of up to two metres, which was released from the Chao Phraya dam yesterday. In Kabin Buri district of Prachin Buri, flood victims have been staying in tents on roadsides for 15 days as several villages have been cut off by floodwaters up to two metres deep. In Sing Buri, villages in tambon Chaksi in Muang district, were said to have been hit by floods for the first time yesterday.
Bangkok Governor Apirak Kosayodhin said an emergency plan for eastern Bangkok will be drawn up to deal with the high tides, predicted to reach their peak levels during Oct 23-25. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Also threats in Khorat

Posted by hasekamp on 14 October 2006 at 12:39 PM
The overflowing Mun River yesterday submerged three districts in Nakhon Ratchasima and threatened to flood the Prasat Hin Phimai, Thailand's largest Khmer sandstone religious sanctuary. Officials quickly pumped water out of the nearby area as a precaution. The 770,000 cubic metres of water released from Lam Phra Phloeng Dam per day combined with rainfall at the dam's end and caused the Mun River and Chakkarat Waterway to submerge nearly 10,000 rai of farmland in Pak Thong Chai and Chok Chai districts. The worst flood for a decade inundated Phimai's 82 villages, government offices, 60 roads and 26,000 rai of farmland. The area around Phimai Historical Park was under 30 centimetres of water. Officials drained the area for fear the floodwater would cause the Khmer shrine to subside and affect the coming light-and-sound event to be held there from November 8-12. Water also seeped through sandbag embankments around the Phimai National Museum, which houses priceless items including a stone carving of the sleeping Hindu god Narayana. Anan Chuchote, director of the Fine Arts Office Region 12, said he had ordered officials to clear the sewage system and install water pumps and sandbag barriers to save the sanctuary from floodwater. He said the situation was still under control. (Source: The Nation)


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World Heritage under threat

Posted by hasekamp on 14 October 2006 at 12:34 PM
Fine Arts officials and flood prevention staff have been struggling in vain to save World Heritage historical sites from floods ravaging the central province of Ayutthaya. The deluge has already destroyed 26 temples and historical sites, while another 13 sites are at risk of being submerged. The spot officials are most concerned about is Wat Chaiwattanaram, the province's landmark temple located on the banks of the Chao Phraya river, which nearly overflowed the two-metre-high embankment into the temple grounds. Disaster response units have been deployed at the temple round-the-clock to drain water from the compound every two hours. However, it is unlikely that they will be able to protect the ancient temple from devastating floods as the water level has continued to rise. Logs have been installed to support the 160m concrete embankment, which is on the brink of collapse due to the mighty water flow in the Chao Phraya river. The department constructed the embankment as part of the historical sites' flood prevention scheme. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Film festival in Bangkok

Posted by hasekamp on 12 October 2006 at 9:45 AM
Despite flooding problems in the city, a large number of people turned out for this year's World Film Festival of Bangkok at Siam Paragon where the critically-acclaimed "The Banquet" opened the event yesterday. Joining the opening were foreign guests, actors and actresses, film enthusiasts, film-makers, diplomats, business people, and the media. Concurrently, an exhibition of posters created by Polish Oscar-winning artist Olbinski was opened yesterday at the Siam Paragon Hall. Describing the 13-day festival as a low-key yet quality-packed film event, festival director Kriengsak Silakong said the a low-key yet quality-packed film event, festival director Kriengsak Silakong said the absence of famous stars from the red carpet did not make the festival less attractive.
The festival offers more than 70 feature films and documentaries from 32 countries including "Climates", "Ode To Joy". and "The Right of the Weakest". Many of them have been featured prominently at the world's top film festivals in Cannes, Venice, and Toronto. (Source: The Nation)


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Martial law remains

Posted by hasekamp on 12 October 2006 at 9:36 AM
Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont yesterday reiterated that martial law would stay amid continuing calls for it to be lifted. Gen Surayud downplayed as a matter of opinion Defence Minister Boonrawd Somtas' suggestion that martial law declared after the coup on Sept 19 would be lifted in a few months. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Worst flooding since 1995

Posted by hasekamp on 12 October 2006 at 9:33 AM
Bangkok and its vicinity could see a major flood similar to the one in 1995 that submerged the entire city unless excess water in the Chao Phraya river is diverted to the vast fields along its banks in time, said senior irrigation officials yesterday. Anucha Mokawetch, director-general of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department, said the speed of the Chao Phraya river in Nakhon Sawan province had reached its highest rate in 60 years. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Bangkok fights to avoid flooding

Posted by hasekamp on 11 October 2006 at 21:15 PM
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration remained hopeful yesterday that a flood crisis would be averted in the city after the King granted permission for the Royal Irrigation Department (RID) to divert excess water onto his 250-rai private property in Ayutthaya's Thung Makham Yong field, prompting villagers in Sena district to follow suit. However, some 100 other villagers yesterday called on the Ayutthaya governor to stop diverting the excess water into open fields in the province, and dispatched volunteers to guard and patrol flood gates. "We, the people of Ayutthaya, are not second-class citizens," one of them said. In response to the villagers' call, governor Somchai Chumrat ordered RID officials not to divert overflow into fields other than those agreed to. The RID and provincial officials tried in vain to come to a deal with the farmers who doubted the department would be able to get rid of the water for them afterwards, a source said.
The BMA and the RID were hoping to save the capital from a deluge by diverting overflow from the Chao Phraya river to open fields, particularly in Ayutthaya, but not without the consent of the farmers. RID chief Samart Chokkanapitark confirmed the King had allowed the department to divert overflow onto his 250-rai property which is part of a 1,200-rai field with a capacity to retain more than 300,000 cubic metres of water. The RID yesterday reported that the Chao Phraya river was flowing past the province at Bang Sai at a rate of 3,473 cubic metres per second. This would have hit low-lying areas along the river. Downtown in the province, the water was already about 40 centimetres higher than the river banks.
Meanwhile, the BMA yesterday reinforced floodwalls, made of sand-bags, in some areas along the river banks up to 2.70 metres in an effort to hold back the surging waters. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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King sacrifices his own land

Posted by hasekamp on 10 October 2006 at 16:31 PM
His Majesty the King granted permission for the Royal Irrigation Department (RID) to divert excess waters overflow the Chao Phraya River basin to HM's personal property in Ayutthaya to help absorb the deluge before it flood Bangkok, said RID directorgeneral Samart Chokanapitak on Tuesday. Following His Majesty's initiative, residents of Ayutthaya - one of the hardest-hit provinces - agreed to allow the RID to divert a huge volume of water onto their own farmlands to reduce the possibility of severe flooding in the capital, he said. The move had greatly reduced a large volume of overflow to Bangkok, Samart said. Bangkok would survive the critical period, as high tide would reach its peak in the coming few days, he added. (Source: The Nation)


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Ayutthaya has to pay for Bangkok

Posted by hasekamp on 9 October 2006 at 23:32 PM
The Chao Phraya River levels are near an 11-year record and have already exceeded those of four years ago. As a result, provinces adjacent to the river would continue to suffer a flood crisis until at least November, Royal Irrigation Department chief Samart Choknapitak warned yesterday.
Ayutthaya, which has already been hit hard, faced an even greater burden, he said. The department would soon be forced to divert Chao Phya overflow in the province to save Bangkok, Non-thaburi and Pathum Thani from flooding, he said. (Source: The Nation)


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King wants better image

Posted by hasekamp on 9 October 2006 at 23:25 PM
His Majesty the King yesterday told the interim government to shore up the country's reputation in the international community and expressed confidence that the newly-appointed Cabinet could overcome this troubled time for the kingdom.
"The country is in dire straits confronted with flooding and other problems and bad things about Thailand are widely said among Thais and foreigners, hence it is important to rectify the tainted image," the monarch said at the Cabinet's swearing-in ceremony. His Majesty gave encouragement to the 26 new ministers to strive for the improvement of the country, saying their task may be difficult and under time constraints, but job performance can be accomplished given their capability and experience.
Interim Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont led Cabinet members for their first royal audience after unveiling his administration on Sunday.
The King urged Cabinet members to work with honesty and a strong determination in steering the country out of its crisis. "The country is in the middle of a crisis and every ministry is obliged to perform honestly to its full capabilities if the problems are to be solved and prosperity ensured, as it is evident that even nature now poses some danger." His Majesty called attention to the ongoing floods and the urgency in assisting victims. "This year's rainfall has not increased, but the flooding is severe and has caused a lot of damage to the people. "This is happening because dykes have been wrongly located causing water to overflow as well as seeping up from below ground." He said the government should quickly minimise flood damage after realising certain dykes had triggered floods instead of preventing them. Defence Minister Boonrawd Somtas said he would heed the royal advice to organise relief for flood victims.
His Majesty was concerned about the foreign perception of the country and the government should try to forge the international understanding about the domestic situation, he said. PM's Office Minister Khunying Dhipavadee Meksawan said she would give her full attention to resolving the plight of the people. She pledged to uphold her office with honesty. (Source: The Nation)


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Earthquake in Prachuap Khiri Khan

Posted by hasekamp on 9 October 2006 at 14:12 PM
An earthquake measured at 5.6 on the Richter scale occurred in Burma and was felt in Prachuap Khiri Khan yesterday morning. Two large dams in Kanchanaburi situated on its fault line may have been affected. The quake occurred at 4:17am about 70 kilometres west of Prachuap Khiri Khan and was felt throughout the province in Muang, Hua Hin, Kui Buri and Pranburi districts. The tremor was felt in Phetchaburi and Ratchaburi provinces as well, the Meteorological Department said.
It was the sixth and most powerful quake felt in the province since September 28, when the first earthquake measuring 4.8 on the Richter scale in the past 50 years was registered.
National Disaster Warning Centre chairman Smith Thammasaroj said the quake was triggered by a Ranong fault line that geologists believe became active in the latest tsunami. The quake did not cause intense effects in Thailand, with its epicentre 70-80 km away in Burma; however, officers have been inspecting two dams in Kanchanaburi. The Srinakharin and Vajiralongkorn dams have drawn concern following the moderately powerful quake due to their location near the fault line. The quake might have affected Bangkok had it reached 8 on the Richter scale, Smith said.
Prachuap Khiri Khan governor Kittipong Sunanan said although the quake was intensely felt, no severe damage has been reported so far. Provincial officers have been preparing measures to alert citizens and tourists in case of disaster. (Source: The Nation)


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Royal Command for cabinet

Posted by hasekamp on 8 October 2006 at 22:41 PM
His Majesty the King issued a royal command to approve the Cabinet of Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont Sunday night. The Cabinet list was announced on TVs late Sunday night. The full list of Surayud's Cabinet is:
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister: MR Pridiyathorn Devakula
Deputy Prime Minister and Industry Minister: Kosit Panpiemras
PM's Office Minister: Kunying Tipawadee Meksawan
PM's Office Minister: Thirapat Serirangsan
Defence Minister: Gen Boonrawd Somtat
Foreign Minister: Nitya Pibulsonggram
Deputy Foreign Minister: Chaowanit Kongsiri
Tourism and Sports Minister: Suwit Yodmanee
Social Development and Human Security Minister: Paibool Watanasiritham
Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives Minister: Theera Sutabu
Deputy Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives Minister: Rungruang Issararangkura
Transport Minister: Adm Thira Haocharoen
Deputy Transport Minister: Sansern Wongcha-um
Natural Resource and Environment Minister: Kasem Sanitwong na Ayutthaya
Information and Communication Technology Minister: Sitthichai Pokai-udom
Commerce Minister: Krirkkrai Jirapaet
Energy Minister: Piyasvasti Amranand
Interior Minister: Aree Wong-araya
Deputy Interior Minister: Banyat Chansena
Justice Minister: Charnchai Likitjitta
Labour Minister: Apai Chanthanajulaka
Culture Minister: Khunying Khaisri Sri-aroon
Science and Technology Minister: Prof Dr Yongyuth Yuthawongse
Education Minister: Wijit Srisa-arn
Public Health Minister: Doctor Mongkol Na Songkhla
Deputy Industry Minister: Piyabutr Cholwicharn
(Source: The Nation)


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Flooding in many parts of Thailand

Posted by hasekamp on 8 October 2006 at 18:26 PM
Floods have paralysed many parts of the country as relief teams are racing against rising water levels to reach people stranded or displaced. Four people, one each in Loei and Prachin Buri and two in Chanthaburi, have drowned. The deputy chief of the Royal Irrigation Department, said the country's largest dam, Bhumibol dam in Tak, and the Pasak Cholasit dam in Lop Buri are running almost at full capacity. More water must be released to prevent damage to the dams' structures, threatening to increase floods in the Central provinces downstream. The Chao Phraya dam may hold water for a while longer, but not too long. It is forced to discharge as little water as possible, especially around Tuesday when the high tide is expected to peak in the Chao Phraya river, which has overflowed its banks in many provinces including Bangkok.
The deluge in Sing Buri and Ayutthaya shows no sign of improving. In the East, residents in many parts of Rayong and Chanthaburi fled their homes, some of which are totally submerged, while in the Northeast, a vast amount of crops have been lost to water. All districts in Chanthaburi recorded rainfall in excess of 200mm yesterday. The water level in downtown Muang district continued to climb, reaching two metres in a number of areas. Inmates at the provincial prison were evacuated. Three emergency centres were set up, with volunteers out in force to hand out relief supplies. Provincial governor Panas Kaewlai denied the main Khiritharn dam was close to collapsing. Rambhai Barni Rajabhat University delayed final exams.
In Prachin Buri, riverside residents camped out on higher ground.
A landslide in Tak blocked the Mae Sot-Tak road for three hours while torrential forest run-offs in Ban Tak district devastated 100 houses in a village.
In Phitsanulok, dried food and rice offered as alms to Wat Ratchaburana to mark the end of Buddhist Lent were re-distributed to families in critically-flooded areas.
In Sing Buri, many flood victims have gone without food as they were inaccessible even to boats.
In Phrae, forest run-off ravaged the Mae Yae dyke in tambon Pongpawai in Den Chai district and deluged Huay Rai, Mae Yun and Suan Luang villages. The road linking Mae Yae and Suan Luang villages were destroyed.
In Loei, Manee Pinyorak, 69, of Ban Huay Hin Cha village in tambon That in Chiang Khan district was found drowned after being swept away by floods while fishing in the Loei river.
In Ayutthaya, Nittaya Aumpittaya, director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand's Region 6 office, said floods in the central provinces have ruined local tourism. A lot of famous temples, ancient sites, markets and communities in these provinces are under water.
In Ubon Ratchathani, the Moon river yesterday flooded 14 communities along its river banks. More than 100 families were made homeless. In the province's municipality, eight communities were inundated. Anti-flood centres are providing food and necessary items to residents.
The weather bureau's northeastern office predicts the lower northeastern provinces, including Chaiyaphum, Nakhon Ratchasima, Buri Ram, Surin, Si Sa Ket and Ubon Ratchathani, will experience heavy rainfall covering 60% of the area. Flash flood warnings have been issued. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Large pile of bags

Posted by hasekamp on 8 October 2006 at 12:49 PM
A total of 6,772 pieces of luggage destined for more than 20 international and domestic flights failed to get on board at Suvarnabhumi Airport yesterday due to a malfunctioning conveyor-belt system. Somchai Sawasdeepol, general manager of the new airport, said authorities had switched to manual baggage handling to unclog the system.
The automatic conveyor-belt system stopped working from 9am to 10am when it was unable to read data. As a result, more than 6,700 bags were left behind, but none of the flights was delayed. Airlines will forward the luggage to passengers and provide compensation for the inconvenience, Somchai said. Kawasaki Co, which installed the baggage-handling system, had "already addressed the problem" but recommended that all baggage be handled manually until noon tomorrow. (Source: The Nation)


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Flooding in Bangkok expected

Posted by hasekamp on 8 October 2006 at 12:09 PM
Top officials and government flood control organisations race against time to coordinate among all state agencies concerned with defending the capital against the rising waters of the Chao Phraya River at flood stage combined with seasonal high tides. Emergency follow-through meetings are continuing as Bangkok braces for possible flooding and massive anti-flood operations nationwide are taking place throughout the Chao Phraya Basin and other flood-affected areas. Officials met Saturday in a meeting chaired by Supreme Commander Gen. Boonsang Niampradit, who presides over the flood relief committee.
Representatives from the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department, the Royal Irrigation Department (RID) and governors of provinces suffering or threatened by inundation (including Bangkok and the metropolitan region) attended the meeting. Speaking afterward, Gen. Boonsang said the military in conjunction with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration will bring, on Sunday, emergency relief items for distribution to people in flooded areas. On preparations to help the northern metropolitan areas, where water levels are predicted to rise on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Royal Irrigation Department has been asked to hold water from various dams in the northern part of Chao Praya River as far as possible in order to save Bangkok from the looming floods. Pirapong Suwanmontri, deputy director-general of the Royal Irrigation Department, said all dams are reaching maximum capacity for holding waters, especially the Bhumibol and Pasak Cholasit Dams. Practically, he indicated, it is impossible for the Royal Irrigation Department to stop releasing water altogether, although it will try to keep the release at minimum levels. Mr. Pirapong urged the public to understand that the best the RID can do now is to temporarily stop the flow and pray for the rains to stop. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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New PM will explain everything

Posted by hasekamp on 7 October 2006 at 15:14 PM
Deputy Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs Sihasak Phuangketkeow said he believed that Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont will have no difficulty explaining the recent political change in Thailand to foreign leaders. Mr. Sihasak met with Gen. Pongthep Thesprateep, the Prime Minister's Secretary-General-designate on Friday to discuss preparations for three upcoming regional meetings that Gen. Surayud will attend. The prime minister will attend the ASEAN-China leaders' summit scheduled to be held October 29-31 in China. All ASEAN leaders are expected to attend since this year marks the 15th anniversary of official ties between the regional grouping and China. Gen. Surayud will also attend the summit meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation or APEC to be held in Vietnam November 15-19, and the ASEAN leaders summit taking place in the Philippines December 11-13.
These regional forums present opportunities for Gen. Surayud to explain recent political developments since September 19 putsch to regional and foreign leaders.
What a relief that they will be able to eplain why is was necessary to seize power with military showdown and to put the constitution aside, two months before the planned general elections! (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Favorite tourist destination

Posted by hasekamp on 6 October 2006 at 10:20 AM
The city of Bangkok has placed third in the World's Best Awards 2006, ranked as the world's third favourite city for tourism, after Italy's Florence and Rome, respectively. It's a repeat honour for Bangkok. The City of Angels copped the American award as Asia's best every year for the four previous years. Bangkok governor Apirak Kosayodhin received the award from America's Travel + Leisure magazine on Friday. More than that, Thailand's northern city of Chiang Mai was voted the world's fifth favourite tourist city and second in Asia. The magazine conducted surveys of tourists and its readers through its website and questionnaires.
Criteria used to choose which cities are the best in the world include the categories of people, culture, arts and value for money. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Thaksin leaves TRT

Posted by hasekamp on 3 October 2006 at 13:09 PM
Ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra resigns from the Thai Rak Thai Party on Tuesday, TRT's deputy leader Pongthep Thepkarnchana said. Pongthep was reading a letter of Thaksin sent from London. Thaksin, TRT leader, claimed that he decided to resign to solve the chaos in the country. Thaksin who is now in London sent his message today to party members about his political future and the party's directions. The party will give a press briefing to tell the public about the decision. Thaksin now lives in London where his family has an apartment. Thaksin's message came two days after Gen Surayud Jalanont was appointed as the prime minister of an interim government. (Source: The Nation)


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Surayud is the new PM

Posted by hasekamp on 1 October 2006 at 17:47 PM
HM the King endorsed Surayud who was nominated by the military council that deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra when he was in the US.
Surayud, dressed in a white military uniform prostrated himself in front of a wall-sized portrait of the king as a sign of respect. He stood alongside the six coup leaders at Government House in the Thai capital during the swearing in ceremony.
Surayud's appointment came after HM the King endorsed the interim charter that will replace the 1997 charter abolished on September 19 when the military council, led by Army Commander in Chief Gen Sonthi Bunyaratblin, seized the power from Thaksin Shinawatra last month.
Sonthi earlier sought to reassure the country the military would not interfere in the work of the new prime minister. (Source: The Nation)


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Text of the interim Constitution

Posted by hasekamp on 1 October 2006 at 17:41 PM
Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand (Interim Edition) of B.E. 2549
Somdet Phra Paramintharamaha Bhumibol Adulyadej Sayammintharathirat Bormmanatthabophit graciously grants the interim constitution on October 1 B.E. 2549, which is the 61st year of the present reigh.
Phrabat Somdet Phra Paramintharamaha Bhumibol Adulyadej Mahitalathibet Ramathibodi Chakkri Narubodin Sayammintharathirat Borommanatthabophit is graciously pleased to proclaim that:
The leader of the Council for Democratic Reform successfully staged the coup on September 19 B. E. 2549 and presented a report to His Majesty.
The CDR leader informed His Majesty that he seized power and abolished the constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand with an intention to solve the problems of the people's losing confidence in the country's administration, the lack of efficiency in the supervision of the administration, and the monitoring of the state power. The problems led to massive corruption and malfeasance with no one being brought to justice, which has become a political crisis and caused rifts among members of the society, who were incited to take sides, causing the decline in the national unity and social crisis.
Although several sectors hve tried to solve the crises, their attempts failed and the situation worsened to the point that there could be violence and clashes which could cause bloodshed.
The situation was severely detrimental to the ruling system, economy and the law and order of the country. So, there must be an appropriate and interim ruling mechanism for the country, which is invented in line with traditional and customs of the Constitutional Monarchy system.
The interim mechanism is also aimed to restore love and unity, the economy, the law and order, to create strong system to check and investigate corruption, to establish good ethical system, to promote and protect the rights and liberty of the people, to have the country respect the UN treaties and treaties and agreements with other countries, to promote the country's ties with international communities and to promote Thais to adopt the self-sufficiency economy.
At the same time, the interim constitution will ensure sped-up attempts to draft and enact a new Constitution with broad public participation in every step.
To attain the goals as the CDR has informed His Majesty, the King commanded that the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand (Interim Edition) be promulgated with the following articles until the next Constitution is drafted and submitted for a royal command.
Article 1. Thailand is one and indivisible Kingdom.
The King is the Head of State and the King holds the position of Head f the Thai Armed Forces.
The King shall be enthroned in a position of revered worship and shall not be violated. No person shall expose the King to any sort of accusation or action.
Article 2. The sovereign power belongs to the Thai people. The King as Head of the State shall exercise such power through the National Assembly, the Council of Ministers and the Courts in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
Article 3. With the provisions of this Constitution, the human dignity, right, liberty and equality of Thais, which have been protected in accordance with Thailand's ruling practice in the democratic regime of government with the King as Head of State, shall be protected by this Constitution.
Article 4. The King selects and appoints the President of the Privy Council and not more than eighteen Privy Councillors to constitute the Privy Council.
The selection and appointment or the removal of a Privy Councillor shall depend entirely upon the King's pleasure.
The President of the National Assembly shall countersign the Royal Command appointing or removing the President of the Privy Council and the President of the Privy council shall countersign the Royal Command appointing or removing other Privy Councillors.
Article 5. The National Assembly consists of no more than 250 members, who will be appointed by the King from Thai nationals by birth and who are at least 35 years old.
The National Assembly shall function as the House of Representatives, the Senate and Parliament.
In selection of persons to be appointed as members of the National Assembly, they must be considered appropriately from various groups in the government sector, private sector, social sector, academic sector and from various regions.
In case there are laws on qualifications of political office holders, the laws must not be enforced for the appointments of members of the National Assembly.
Article 6. Membership of the National Assembly terminates upon:
(1)death;
(2) resignation;
(3) being disqualified as stipulated in Article 5
(4) being appointed minister
(5) the National Assembly passing a resolution under Article 8 removing him or her from office.
Article 7. The King appoints a member of the National Assembly as its president and appoints one or more members of the National Assembly as a vice president or several vice presidents in line with a resolution of the National Assembly.
Article 6 shall be applied for the termination of office of the president and vice president or vice presidents of the National Assembly.
The president of the Council of National Security will countersign the royal command to appoint members of the National Assembly, president and vice president(s) of the National Assembly.
Articled 8. In case a member of the National Assembly has committed a deed deemed damaging the reputation of the National Assembly or has behaviours deemed obstructing the works of the National Assembly, at least 20 members of National Assembly can file a motion to the president of the National Assembly to impeach him or her.
The impeachment of a member of the National Assembly as stated in the first paragraph requires at least two thirds of existing members of the National Assembly on the day the vote is cast.
Article 9. It requires at least half of members of the National Assembly to make a meeting quorum.
The National Assembly has the authority to issue directives to specify selection and working process of the president, vice president(s), and committees of the National Assembly as well as processes for holding meetings, submitting and deliberation of bills, submitting motions, holding debates and voting, filing interpolations, maintaining regulations and order and for carrying other activities in line with duties of members of the National Assembly.
Article 10. The King issues acts as advised and agreed upon by the National Assembly.
Subject to Article 10's first paragraph, a bill may be introduced only by at least 25 members of the National Assembly or the Council of Ministers, but a money bill may be introduced by the Council of Ministers.
Subject to Article 10's second paragraph, a money bill means a bill with any or all of the following wordings : the imposition, repeal, reduction, alteration, modification, remission, or regulation of taxes or duties; the allocation, receipt, custody, payment of the State funds, or transfer or creation of expenditure estimates of the State; reduction of state revenue; the raising of loans, or guarantee or redemption of loans; and currency bills.
In case of doubt as to whether a bill proposed by members of the National Assembly is a money bill, it shall be the power of the President of the National Assembly o make a decision thereon.
Article 11. During a meeting of the National Assembly, any member of the National Assembly has the right to submit a motion to request the Council of Ministers to give statements of fact or explain important problems in connection with the administration of the State affairs. But the Ministers have the right not to give information when considering that the matter should be treated with confidential for the sake of security and interest of the country or when seeing that the motion is not in line with meeting regulations.
When there are important problems, at least 100 members of the National Assembly have the right to submit a motion for a general debate in the National Assembly for the purpose of requesting the Council of Ministers to provide facts and explanations regarding the problems but the members of the National Assembly cannot make a vote of confidence or vote of no-confidence against the Ministers.
Article 12. When there are important problems in connection with the administration of the State affairs which the Council of Ministers see the need to hear opinions of the members of the National Assembly, the Prime Minister will request the President of the National Assembly to hold a general debate in the National Assembly without a resolution to be passed.
Article 13. During a meeting of the National Assembly, anyone shall receive absolute immunity for his or her speech made to provide facts or express opinions or to cast votes and shall not be liable to legal action because of the expression.
The immunity mentioned in Paragraph 1 of this article shall be extended to members of committees of the National Assembly and publishers of meeting reports as ordered by the National Assembly or members of the National Assembly. The immunity shall also be extended to persons allowed by the chair of the meeting of the National Assembly to provide facts or express opinions to the meeting and extended to the TVs and radio stations allowed by the chair of the meeting to broadcast the meeting. But the immunity will not be applied to the speaker in the case of the meeting is broadcast live on radios and TVs and the wordings are republished and the wordings are deemed violating the Criminal Code or violating the civil right of other people who are not Ministers or members of the National Assembly.
If a member of the National Assembly is detained, he or she must be released as soon as the President of the National Assembly has so requested. Or when a member of the National Assembly is prosecuted, the trial can be continued unless the President of the National Assembly requests the court to halt the trial.
Article 14. The King appoints the Prime Minister and not more than thirty-five other Ministers as advised by the Prime Minister to constitute the Council of Ministers having the duties to carry out the administration of the State affairs.
The King has the prerogative to remove the Prime Minister from office as advised by the President of the Council for National Security and the King has the power to remove Ministers from office as advised by the Prime Minister.
The President of the Council for the National Security shall countersign the Royal Command appointing and removing the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister and Ministers cannot currently be members of the National Assembly, members of the Constitution Drafting Assembly or members of the Constitution Drafting Committee.
The Prime Minister and Ministers have the right to attend, provide explanations or express opinions during meeting of the National Assembly but cannot vote.
Article 15. For the purpose of maintaining national security, public safety or national economic security, or averting public calamity or when it is necessary to urgently enact or confidentially deliberate a money bill related to taxes or currency , the King may issue an Emergency Decree which shall have the force as an Act.
After the issuance of the Emergency Decree, the Council of Ministers shall submit the Emergency Decree to the National Assembly for its consideration without delay. If the National Assembly approves the Emergency Decree, the decree shall remain effective as an Act. If the National Assembly rejects decree, the Emergency Decree shall lapse; provided that it shall not affect any act done during the enforcement of such Emergency Decree. If the Emergency Decree, which has the effect of amending or repealing any provisions of any Act and such Emergency Decree ,has lapsed, the provisions of the Act in force before the amendment or repeal shall continue to be in force as from the day the disapproval of such Emergency Decree is effective.
The approval or disapproval of an Emergency Decree must be published in the Royal Gazette. In the case of the disapproval, the disapproval will be effective on the day that it is announced in the Royal Gazette.
Article 16. The King has the prerogative to issue a Royal Decree which is not contrary to the law.
Article 17. All laws, Royal Rescripts and Royal Commands relating to the State affairs must be countersigned by the Prime Minister or a Minister unless otherwise provided in this Constitution.


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Thai military appoint new PM

Posted by hasekamp on 1 October 2006 at 11:39 AM
The leaders of last month's military coup in Thailand have announced army officer General Surayud Chulanont as the country's new prime minister. A ceremony to swear him in as Thailand's new leader is expected to take place later on Sunday. The announcement came after the military regime said it would draw up a new constitution. The military unveiled the new constitution on television, saying King Bhumibol had endorsed it. The military regime is expected to hold substantial powers until the country's next elections, which have been promised for October 2007. Coup leader General Sonthi Boonyaratglin was quoted on news agency Reuters saying: "On the 28th [September] I went to his [Gen Chulanont] house and spent half an hour convincing him to take the job while the country is in crisis. He has agreed to take it." Surayud Chulanont, 62, is an army veteran, and one of the few senior Thai figures who is respected by military and civilian leaders alike. By choosing him as the country's new prime minister, Thailand's military may hope to quieten international fears. (Source: BBC News)


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Royal endorsement for charter

Posted by hasekamp on 1 October 2006 at 11:32 AM
Almost two weeks after its bloodless coup toppling prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra government on September 19, Thailand's military Council for Democratic Reform unveiled an interim Constitution Sunday following the endorsement of the monarch. His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej's formal support for the measure is a necessary step in the kingdom's constitution-drafting process. The military Council said a new general election will be held in late 2007, but that it will only come when a new Constitution is in place. The Council's interim constitution was submitted for royal approval on Saturday and endorsement was given, 12 days after the generals promised to give power to a civilian government within two weeks of the coup. According to a statement on national television Sunday morning, the CDR said His Majesty the King has approved the interim constitution and that it takes effect immediately. Under the interim 39-article charter, the CDR will be transformed into a new entity called the Council for National Security (CNS) and authorised to appoint a new prime minister, a new national legislature and to oversee national security. The interim charter stipulates that a national assembly representing all social sectors will select a constitution-drafting assembly to write a new constitution. The draft will be put up for public hearing within 45 days after it is completed. The interim constitution also provides CDR with an amnesty for having staged the coup d'etat, saying that the military leaders will not be held legally accountable for their past actions in toppling the Thaksin administration. A new prime minister to replace deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is expected to be announced later Sunday. It is widely reported that former army commander Gen. Surayud Chulanont, a respected retired officer who has served as a privy councillor, is the most likely choice.
Foreign media report that he has been appoited alreasy (Source: Thai News Agency)


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