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Time award presented

Posted by hasekamp on 30 November 2006 at 18:29 PM
Time magazine presented its award to Consul-General Vichai Varasirikul in Hong Kong yesterday on behalf of His Majesty the King, who was among 60 people it selected as "Asian Heroes," according to Foreign Ministry deputy spokesman Kiattikhun Chartprasert. The Royal Household Bureau had assigned Mr Vichai to join the ceremony in Hong Kong for the King after the invitation to His Majesty by Time's International Editor Michael Elliot and Publishing Director Alan Lammin, he added. Time selected the King for the award because he was the person Thais could turn to in time of crisis. The award is to celebrate the 60th year of Time's Asian edition. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Climate change also for Bangkok

Posted by hasekamp on 30 November 2006 at 18:27 PM
Bangkok would have little chance of experiencing a cool season in the next four decades as the capital's temperature continues to rise due to an "urban heat island" and global warming, according to experts. Other provinces would also experience shorter spells of cool weather over the long run, they added. Like other big cities, Bangkok is experiencing an "urban heat island", a phenomenon which sees temperatures in cities rise more than in the countryside, said Jariya Boonjawat, an environmentalist at the Southeast Asia START Regional Center, an environmental research organization. Buildings, concrete and asphalt roads, as well as human and industrial activities in urban areas, were all factors contributing to high temperatures in cities, she told the conference on Thailand's and the global climate. "We have studied the urban heat island in Thailand and found that the temperature in the capital is 5C higher than in rural areas. The result is in line with big cities around the world, like Tokyo," said the expert, who has conducted extensive research on the climate and its impacts on urban areas. "With the warming trend increasing, we can say that Bangkok will have less chance of experiencing a cool season in the next 40 years."
Four decades ago, the average temperature during Bangkok's cool season was below 15C, according to Ms Jariya, but the minimum temperature has gradually increased to 20C now. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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War on Drugs-deaths to be investigated

Posted by hasekamp on 28 November 2006 at 13:15 PM
Prime Minister Gen Surayud Chulanont has vowed to reopen cases of extra-judicial killings during the 'war on drugs' campaigns of the deposed administration. Former Nakhon Ratchasima senator Kraisak Choonhavan said Gen Surayud made the pledge when they met at Government House yesterday. Mr Kraisak was spearheading a petition calling for the re-opening of cases of extra-judicial slayings in a bid to seek the prosecution of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra for the state's draconian actions against drug-related suspects that led to more than 2,500 deaths nationwide. According to Mr Kraisak, the prime minister said the petition was in line with the government's plans for judicial reform. The ex-senator, who had received complaints from around 40 families affected by the violent drug suppression, said he asked the prime minister to set up a special panel to probe the cases and make the issue part of the national agenda. Mr Kraisak also handed information on human rights violations during Mr Thaksin's term to Gen Surayud yesterday. (Source: The Bankok Post)


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Train collision

Posted by hasekamp on 27 November 2006 at 19:25 PM
Officials are expediting in gathering the wreckage and repairing the railway, following the collision of two trains between Bangkok and Chiang Mai route last night, and the route is expected to be serviceable this afternoon (Monday). The accident occurred when a sprinter train crashed into the rear of a Bangkok-Chiang Mai train line, which was loaded with tourists who would like to visit the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek 2006 in Chiang Mai. The incident took place near Taphan Hin Train Station, or about three kilometers from Phichit. Many passengers were injured from the collision. 11 of them have been admitted to the hospital, and three are still in serious conditions. Five injured people are foreign tourists. According to the investigation, two bogeys immediately derailed after the collision. Further investigation is being conducted. Train collisions are relatively rare in Thailand (Source: Public Relations Department)


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Martial law to be partially lifted

Posted by hasekamp on 27 November 2006 at 19:21 PM
The Council for National Security (CNS) yesterday resolved to propose the lifting of martial law in more than half of the country's 76 provinces and retain it in strategically significant areas including Bangkok and the surrounding provinces. CNS chairman General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, who chaired yesterday's meeting of the council, said it will today ask the Cabinet to lift martial law in more than 40 provinces and keep its presence in "unstable" areas. The decision to lift martial law in Bangkok would lie with Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont, and the final decision would rest with the Cabinet. "If something happens in Bangkok, the prime minister will be responsible for handling it. So I will leave him to decide whether Bangkok should remain under the law," Sonthi said. (Source: The Nation)


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Taxi drivers protest

Posted by hasekamp on 27 November 2006 at 19:18 PM
About 2,500 taxi drivers protested against Rachathewa police at Suvarnabhumi Airport yesterday for cracking down on taxi drivers not running their meters and charging passengers flat rates. The protest started after one taxi driver was given a ticket by police for not using the meter while bringing passengers from Pattaya to the airport in Samut Prakan's Bang Phli district. A taxi driver said the protest was being staged to demand justice from police. The protest started inside the airport and then expanded all the way to the road outside the airport as the number of protesters steadily grew. Suvarnabhumi Airport director Somchai Sawasdeephon said the protest was not only causing traffic problems but also inconveniencing passengers who could not find any taxis to take them to town. Taxis taking passengers to and from the new airport are required to use the meter with an additional charge of 50 baht per trip. But many taxis violate the rule by demanding a flat rate from passengers. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Pattani schools to be closed

Posted by hasekamp on 25 November 2006 at 11:51 AM
All schools in Pattani province will be closed down indefinitely after two teachers were killed by suspected militants this week. The decision will affect all 336 schools, ranging from elementary to high schools, in the province, a senior teacher said Saturday. "We have to close all schools in Pattani indefinitely because no one can guarantee teachers' safety. The schools would be shut from Monday," said Boonsom Thongsriplai, the chairman of the Teachers Federation of Pattani. The closure was in response to the killings of two Buddhist school teachers in Pattani this week. Non Chaisuwan, a 48-year-old school director, was gunned down Friday inside his parked car by militants, who then set fire to the bullet-riddled vehicle. The federation said Non was the 60th teacher killed during three years of unrest in the south. Earlier on Thursday, Suradet Waddeanga, a 40-year-old school teacher, was shot dead in a drive-by shooting after work. Some 100 schools in neighboring Yala province also remained closed amid a spike in arson attacks against school buildings. On Friday a school in Narathiwat was raged to the ground allegedly by the militants. (Source: The Nation)


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Golden chair for HM the King

Posted by hasekamp on 25 November 2006 at 11:46 AM
The army will present His Majesty the King with a specially-designed gold chair, weighing 60 baht in gold - roughly 900 grammes - to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the King's accession to the throne. The army has commissioned the Gold Traders' Association to build the special chair, made from pure gold and golden teak wood, for His Majesty. Representatives from the association met Gen Sonthi Boonyaratkalin, the army chief and chairman of the Council for National Security, to hand over the chair yesterday. The royal chair will be handed to His Majesty along with a matching set of two side tables next month. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Vaccination of fowl reconsidered

Posted by hasekamp on 23 November 2006 at 18:39 PM
Vaccination of fowl against bird flu has been tabled for consideration again as part of the government's bird flu control policies amid warnings by experts about the country's lack of readiness to handle such a program. Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Thira Sutabutra said yesterday the ministry would reconsider the pros and cons of using the vaccine in fowl as one of the counter-measures against bird flu at a meeting next week to be joined by experts from both state and private agencies. If vaccine use proves beneficial and effective, the meeting's conclusions will then be forwarded to the government for a change in policy, he said. "The matter has been debated in society for some time and it should be time to settle it now," said Mr Thira. "It's a fact that the virus has become endemic here, meaning it cannot be stopped unless vaccination is applied, theoretically. Our virus control measures now are at the same time costly and inconsistent. So the key condition we have to find out is whether we have an effective vaccine or not. And if so, we must use it," he said. Vaccination of fowl has been fiercely debated in the country as poultry raisers and experts are divided over the issue. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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King honored for his inventions

Posted by hasekamp on 23 November 2006 at 18:29 PM
The Cabinet agreed Tuesday to designate His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej as the "Father of Thai Invention," Government Spokesperson Yongyuth Mayalarp said Tuesday. Yongyuth said the cabinet agreed to the proposal by the Inventors' Association of Thailand with the approval of the National Research Council of Thailand, the Chaipattana Foundation, the Royal Development Projects Board and the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand. The title would honor and recognize outstanding inventions and works of His Majesty the King as well as inspire Thais to follow his footsteps and instill creative thinking and innovative minds in Thai youths to help develop the nation to prosperity. One of King Bhumibol's outstanding inventions is his artificial rain-making method which the European Patent Office (EPO) last year issued a patent -- No.1491088, on Oct. 12, 2005 -- to protect His Majesty the King's intellectual property. Thailand's monarch is the first and only person ever granted such the patent, formally named the "Weather Modification by Royal Rainmaking Technology." (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Should Thaksin be tried?

Posted by hasekamp on 20 November 2006 at 12:41 PM
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Lawyers Council of Thailand are pressing the government to ratify the convention on the International Criminal Court so deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra could be tried for crimes against humanity over his controversial anti-drugs campaign. The council and former lawmakers accused the Thaksin administration of having blood on its hands for waging its so-called war on drugs which killed more than 2,000 people, most of them drug traders and traffickers. The government must bring Mr Thaksin to justice or the Sept 19 military coup which swept it to power would amount to nothing but a public deception, they said. Somchai Hom-laor, chairman of the council's human rights committee, said evidence came to light supporting the belief that state officials were responsible for the deaths of 2,500 people in the anti-drugs campaign. The death toll was recorded from two phases of the campaign, the first from February to April 2003 and the second in 2005. Officials were obeying a Thaksin policy which included a well-organised plan to issue a "licence to kill" with approval from Mr Thaksin, the then interior minister Wan Muhamad Nor Matha, and the then interior permanent secretary Sermsak Pongpanich. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Doubts about coup

Posted by hasekamp on 19 November 2006 at 10:30 AM
Many doubt whether the coup achieved its aims. When the people were introduced to the junta exactly two months ago today, one of its earliest announcements stated that a principal objective of the coup was to forge national unity by healing the social and political rifts left by ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. But now many people are questioning not only the lack of progress in achieving that goal, but also the merit of a unity that is in fact artificial and even counterproductive to the furtherance of democracy in this country.
"National reconciliation to the coup-makers so far means shutting down political space for dissenting views," said Kanokrat Lertchoosakul, a Chulalongkorn University political scientist. "After all, the coup-makers are the generation that missed out on the democratisation process in the country over the past 15 years." The military's quashing of opposition may reflect a misunderstanding that the pro-Thaksin and anti-coup elements are a homogeneous conglomeration of grass-roots supporters and urban poor who have been paid by Thaksin, and of intellectuals and activists who hold overly rigid ideas about democracy.
Je Jiew, a clothes merchant at Bo Bae Market in Bangkok, said she and her vendor friends were still loyal to Thaksin. His "war against the mafia" helped them stamp out financial and even physical abuse by local gangsters.
"I don't think it's realistic to hope that Thaksin comes back as the premier, but I'm still against the coup because it's not democratic. I saw how bad dictatorship was before the October 14 uprising," Je Jiew said.
Thaksin supporters will create unity. They will just become a time bomb waiting to explode. "There is probably no unity within the military itself. The coup has caused shifts in power for different cliques in the military and who knows if the insistence on maintaining martial law is in fact meant to control potential rebels in the armed forces," Suwit said. (Source: The Nation)


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Airport not ready

Posted by hasekamp on 19 November 2006 at 10:06 AM
A panel overseeing the opening of Suvarnabhumi airport has found the facility unfit for an official opening, recommending it be put off for six months. Chalit Phukphasuk, the committee chairman and air force chief, said safety and noise prompted the panel to urge delaying the airport's inauguration, which was expected this month. The committee, appointed by the Council for National Security (CNS), wrapped up its work on Friday. "There is a load of problems to be fixed. The airport will not be ready for the official opening for six months," he said. "Since His Majesty the King will preside over the opening, it is imperative that everything is ready." Suvarnabhumi airport's modern and stylish design has been eclipsed by problems since the Sept 28 opening to commercial flights, he said.
Long waits for luggage, hold-ups at check-in counters, roof leaks and inadequate toilets highlighted the early days of operations. Weeks later, uneven and cracked taxiways and parking bays were found at the airport. Current issues include sexual harassment of female staff by men who work for outside contractors and noise pollution.
The airport's plan to close one of its two runways for four hours every night is raising suspicion it has something to do with cracks on aircraft taxiways and parking bays. ACM Chalit said noise problems are being attended to. Solutions include changing flying techniques for approaching aircraft and reallocating flight times. He said Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT), which manages the airport, has also been told to improve safety measures before the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) inspects the airport in June next year. The airport requires an aerodrome certificate from ICAO to permanently operate. It currently has an interim certificate from the Aviation Department.
ACM Chalit said he has reported the findings to CNS chief Gen Sonthi Boonyaratkalin, Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont and Transport Minister Theera Haocharoen. An official report on airport operations since opening on Sept 28, including an overview of problems, will be submitted later, he said. ACM Chalit said the meeting on Friday was the committee's last. The panel was set up after the Sept 19 coup amid calls for the opening to be put off until it was declared fit for operations.
Suvarnabhumi airport, a much-touted project of the deposed Thaksin administration, is plagued with corruption scandals, some being investigated by the Assets Scrutiny Committee. A newly-appointed AoT board, with assistant army chief Gen Saprang Kalayanamitr as a member and potential chairman, is seen as a CNS attempt to expose graft at the new airport.
Other alleged irregularities involve selection of duty-free shops and food stalls, bids for trolley procurement and the construction of car park buildings.
Issarapan Sanitwong na Ayudhya, national deputy police chief, yesterday said sexual harassment at the facility had been confirmed. He said Chokechai Panyayong, THAI vice-president for ground services, said female staff were harassed, but had not filed complaints with police investigators.
Pol Gen Issarapan, however, said no complaints of rape or other violent crimes at the airport were lodged with police. (Source The Bangkok Post)


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Monks no longer ask alms

Posted by hasekamp on 11 November 2006 at 14:31 PM
Monks in Narathiwat will stop asking for alms in the morning following series of attacks on monks until the situations return to normal, a senior monk in the province said Saturday. In recent months, monks and soldiers protecting monks became targets of attacks by suspected militants. Last month, the militants attacked monks who were asking alms in the morning, killing two soldiers and injuring five monks. The abbot said that the meeting decided to stop their morning activities partly because they were informed by intelligence units that more attacks on them are expected in the coming days. The militants would also have forced Thai Buddhists to run away from the province for fearing of their safety. (Source: The Nation)


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Saving seagrass

Posted by hasekamp on 10 November 2006 at 15:31 PM
Marine experts, coastal communities, and environmentalists have begun drafting the country's first action plan on seagrass conservation to stop them dying out in Thai waters. Sombat Poovachiranon, a marine specialist from the Phuket Marine Biological Centre, said degradation of seagrass beds was most serious in Phuket province due to sedimentation. Phuket seagrass beds had been buried under thick layers of soil eroded from construction sites along the coast of the resort island, he said. Sea water pollution and destructive fishing activities were also major causes of seagrass reduction, said Mr Sombat. Despite the facts that these rare plant species are very important to marine life and the local people, Thailand has never had a concrete plan to ensure sustainable use of seagrass, he noted. Seagrass beds are a breeding ground for various marine species. The marine plants are also the only nutrient source for the endangered dugong. There are a total of 16,000 rai of seagrass beds in Thai waters, over 90% of them found along the Andaman coast. The latest survey found that 30% of the beds have been severely degraded. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Thaksin children get tax bill

Posted by hasekamp on 7 November 2006 at 19:40 PM
The Revenue Department has decided to take legal action against former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's children after they failed to pay personal income tax on the controversial takeover of Shin Corp, marking an abrupt change in departmental policy.
Department director-general Sirote Swasdipanich told a press conference: "I ordered tax officials to proceed with the legal action to collect personal income tax from the Thaksin kids." Earlier, he could not collect a single baht in tax from Thaksin's children. Sirote yesterday, however, said Thaksin's children were supposed to pay tax of 37 per cent on the sale of 329.2 million shares previously held by a Shinawatra family company, registered in the British Virgin Islands tax haven. Panthongtae and Pinthongta (Thaksin's children) were supposed to pay their tax bills by September 30, the deadline for half-year tax payments for non-salaried income earners. However, Sirote said they had submitted no payment, so the department would proceed with legal action by inviting them to report to officials. (Source: The Nation)


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Time magazine honors His Majesty

Posted by hasekamp on 7 November 2006 at 12:24 PM
Time Magazine has named HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej as one among 60 heroes of Asia who have shaped destiny and times of Asia throughout the six decades. In the magazine's special edition to mark its 60 th anniversary since it published Asia Edition, it said HM the King has been inspiration for Thailand and its people. He has helped the country go through many political crisis. "Having sat on the throne for 60 years, he is the world's longest-reigning monarch. His stewardship has been so masterful that in times of crisis Thais invariably turn to one man: King Bhumibol," read the magazine's edition of November 13, 2006. "Indeed, on two occasions \97October 1973 and May 1992\97 with Thailand descending into chaos, the King, armed only with his moral authority, intervened to end bloodshed."
Time also referred to the September coup when the military ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. "Today, a group of generals has again seized power. They have pledged to give Thailand a fairer and lasting democratic system. Once more, Thailand's people will look to King Bhumibol, trusting him to ensure that the generals keep their promise," according to the magazine.
Other Asian Heroes named by the magazine included India's Gandhi and Nehru, Philippine's Corazon Aquino, China's Deng Xiaoping and Tibet's Dalai Lama. (Source: The Nation)


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Thailand in World corruption ranking

Posted by hasekamp on 6 November 2006 at 17:16 PM
Thailand has slipped to 63rd this year from last year's 59th in a global survey on corruption, the local chapter of Germany-based Transparency International, which conducted the survey, said yesterday. Thailand gets 3.6 out of 10 in the 2006 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) and is in the same spot as Lebanon and the Seychelles, said Juree Vichit-Vadakan, the secretary-general of Transparency Thailand. Last year, Thailand's CPI score was 3.8, ranking it 59th among 159 countries surveyed, she said. This year, the survey was conducted on 163 countries around the world. Among Asian countries, Singapore is at the top with a score of 9.4, while Thailand is in ninth out of the 21 nations in the region. Burma, with a score of 1.9, is at the bottom of the list among Asian countries and is the second-worst in the global ranking. Haiti is in bottom position in the global list with a score of 1.8.
Sharing the top spot in the global rankings are Finland, Iceland and New Zealand, who each get a CPI score of 9.6. They fare better than countries with a more advanced economic system like the United States, which is ranked 20th with the score of 7.3. The CPI score relates to perceptions of the degree of corruption as seen by business people and country analysts and ranges between 10 (highly clean) and 0 (highly corrupt). (Source: The Nation)


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Thai nano-fabrics

Posted by hasekamp on 5 November 2006 at 12:04 PM
After spending three long years and over Bt200 million, Thai nanotechnologists have finally carved out a niche for development. It lies in creating nano-fabrics. Since the successful introduction of a nano sports shirt recently, the next goals are school uniforms, and Thai silk and cotton products, Dr Teerachai Pornsinsirirak, deputy director of the National Nanotechnology Centre (Nanotec), said. Both Thai silk and cotton products have been successful in laboratory experiments.
Nanotec has joined hands with a private company, Nonami Science, to develop and commercialise nano-uniforms. For silk and cotton products, apart from the waterproofing and bacteria-preventing qualities, researchers are also applying nanotechnology to enhance colour quality.
This year, the nano sports shirt was launched under the brand Grand Sport. The technology was also applied to manufacture yellow shirts to celebrate His Majesty the King's 60 years on the throne, and received a warm welcome from customers. (Source: The Nation)


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Stork invasion

Posted by hasekamp on 4 November 2006 at 15:26 PM
Koh Lat, in the mouth of the Bang Pakong river, has been taken over by tens of thousands of open-billed storks, which residents believe migrated from Lat Krabang after the area was developed into Suvarnabhumi airport.
Previously, the island was home to a population of more than 50 kinds of native birds, which until recently had coexisted peacefully for a long time.
The invasion of the open-billed storks, has disrupted the livelihood of native birds, with claims that the storks have been attacking and eating the chicks and eggs of other birds. The bitter feud has ended with a mass exodus of local birds who appear to have surrendered their territory to the invaders. According to residents, open-billed storks pose a threat to the environment as they have been destroying trees on the island. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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US: Democracy first

Posted by hasekamp on 4 November 2006 at 15:18 PM
The United States government\A0used a Malaysian platform Friday to warn Thailand's interim government regarding the reinstitution of\A0American-understood\A0democracy as a precondition for resumption of trade negotiations. Karun Kittisataporn, Permanent Secretary for Commerce, responded to the continuing pressure from the US by stating that his ministry has not yet received an official letter from Washington that it would resume FTA negotiations with Thailand when an democratically-elected government is installed.
A senior US trade official said in Kuala Lumpur that America will not negotiate with the present Thai government, implying that Thailand will be left\A0in the cold regarding its long-standing\A0preferential trade relationships with Washington until a democratically elected government is in place in Bangkok. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Taxi driver commits suicide

Posted by hasekamp on 3 November 2006 at 17:53 PM
On Wednesday a taxi driver in Bangkok committed suicide in protest to the coup in Thailand. The coup-makers are now watching for possible attempts to use the suicide of the 60-year-old taxi driver, Nuamthong Praiwan, to incite anti-coup sentiment among the public. After news reports of Mr Nuamthong's death on Wednesday broke, SMS messages were sent by mobile phones urging taxi drivers to rally against the Council for National Security (CNS). Gen Sonthi said that the CNS had moved too slowly to give the reasons behind the Sept 19 coup d'etat, which had caused anti-coup sentiment to mount. "However, in a democracy, it is natural that we see more and more people express their dissent against the CNS. What we have to do now is to find out more factual information. The media should help watch the situation," he said. The CNS is also monitoring undercurrents outside Bangkok, although Gen Sonthi said he had not received any confirmation of a planned rally. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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PM apologizes to the South

Posted by hasekamp on 3 November 2006 at 17:43 PM
Thai (interim) Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont yesterday apologised to the people of the deep South for what he called the excesses of the deposed Thaksin Shinawatra government in dealing with the problems of the restive region. Speaking in Pattani before relatives and victims involved in the Tak Bai protest in Narathiwat two years ago, Gen Surayud also said he was looking into the possibility of dropping charges against 58 suspects. "I apologise on behalf of the former government for what happened," he said. "I want to extend my hand and say that I am wrong," he added. "I sincerely apologise because most of the mistakes of the past were largely made by the state and we have to help each other correct them, " he said. "I tried to oppose several policies of the last government and am partly to blame for failing to get results. That is why they let me stay as an objector. That's why I have to apologise once again today."
The apology was greeted with lengthy and resounding applause by a group of more than 1,000 people, including Muslim religious leaders, heads of local organisations and members of the private sector, who gathered at a downtown hotel. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Elephants to Australia despite protest

Posted by hasekamp on 2 November 2006 at 10:26 AM
Four female Asian elephants touched down at Sydney airport Thursday afternoon, completing a controversial journey from Thailand marked by angry opposition from animal welfare activists. The Sydney zoo would soon arrange delivery of another elephant, a male, along with three more to be sent to Melbourne Zoo. Months of opposition, including protests and legal battles, have dogged the elephants' relocation to Australia as part of the first ever regional breeding program in Australasia. After lengthy court action, activists won a victory in February against the Australian government, forcing them to agree to several conditions guaranteeing the welfare of the elephants. Then in June, protesters in Bangkok blocked the elephants from reaching the airport, claiming they would suffer in the Australian zoos. This forced the elephants back to quarantine in Thailand, delaying their departure until August. Opposition then moved to the Supreme Court of New South Wales last month, with Animal Liberation New South Wales seeking to prevent the Sydney zoo keeping the elephants under local prevention of cruelty to animals laws. Thai and Australian authorities insist the animals were born in captivity and collected from various owners around Thailand, rather than having been captured in the wild. (Source: The Nation)


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Healthcare reform

Posted by hasekamp on 1 November 2006 at 17:20 PM
Public Health Minister Mongkol na Songkhla yesterday announced the immediate abolishment of the Bt30 fee for universal healthcare, a move which he did not clear with the Cabinet. Holders of gold cards no longer have to pay the Bt30 fee as the National Health Security Office (NHSO)'s board on Monday decided to stop collecting the fee for hospital visits charged under the universal healthcare scheme, Mongkol said. The ministry will advise hospitals under its supervision of the new policy, while the NHSO would inform the rest. The move would require a new budget of Bt2,089 per head, to cover income lost from collecting the Bt30 fee. The current budget is Bt1,659 per capita. Mongkol said the ministry did not propose the move to the Cabinet yesterday as the necessary documents were not ready, but it should be able to do so for the next meeting. (Source: The Nation)


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