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Credit card fraud by Europeans

Posted by hasekamp on 29 February 2008 at 18:10 PM
Two European men arrested by Kathu Police last Sunday night for scanning information allegedly to be used in committing bank card forgery remain in jail without bail. Maj Narong Laksanavimol said that the two men arrested, whom he named as German national Hota Bogdan Nicolae and Romanian Andrei Gugioman, both 25, are part of a larger crime ring. The two men have been charged with conspiracy to produce counterfeit bank cards, which Maj Narong said were intended to be used to steal money from unsuspecting foreign tourists. Maj Narong said that the pair, who had been under surveillance since about 8 pm, waited until after the currency-exchange booth closed at 10 pm before beginning their scanning operation from inside a Toyota Camry at around midnight. After the men were arrested, police seized what was described as a "scanning kit" made by the two men, along with two notebook computers, a Bangkok-registered Toyota Camry, computer cables and adapters, a USB drive and other equipment. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Job for Thaksin?

Posted by hasekamp on 29 February 2008 at 18:06 PM
Thaksin Shinawatra was offered a job as economic adviser by Finance Minister Surapong Suebwonglee yesterday at the same time as the former prime minister vowed to stay out of politics. The secretary-general of the People Power party (PPP) said he would seek out Mr Thaksin's opinions on economic issues especially the proposed scrapping of the 30% reserve requirement on foreign inflows imposed by the Bank of Thailand in December 2006. Mr Thaksin has not responded to Mr Surapong's offer. "I have yet to make an appointment [with Mr Thaksin]," said Mr Surapong, who described the ex-premier as an economic expert.
Mr Thaksin was banned from Thai politics for five years after the Constitution Tribunal last year dissolved the Thai Rak Thai party. Mr Thaksin was among the 111 party executives held to account for electoral fraud. The proposed advisory role has cast doubts on Mr Thaksin's pledge that he will retire from politics and analysts raised concerns about him becoming a prime minister behind the curtains. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Compensation for adultery

Posted by hasekamp on 28 February 2008 at 17:53 PM
More married women are seeking legal advice on compensation from husbands' lovers, the Women Lawyers' Association of Thailand revealed yesterday. "We have seen more women coming forward about this," the association's chairwoman Suthinee Metheeprapha said.
Legislation entitling wives to compensation from husbands' mistresses took effect last year. "Compensation can range from Bt10,000 to Bt1 million," Suthinee said. She added that compensation varied, depending on the social status of the parties involved. In a bid to protect women's rights, the association yesterday called on the Social Development and Human Security
Ministry to ensure enforcement of laws, including the compensation legislation. (Source: The Nation)


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Thaksin is back

Posted by hasekamp on 28 February 2008 at 17:48 PM
Thailand's ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, repeating his intention to stay out of politics, announced Thursday he would spend his time back in the country fighting charges against him and restoring his tarnished reputation.
Mr. Thaksin returned today to Thailand. He was arrested after his arrival on corruption charges, but he was released soon on bail. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Thaksin expected back on Thursday

Posted by hasekamp on 26 February 2008 at 11:41 AM
Two websites confirmed today that ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra is due back in Thailand on Thursday at 9:00am. The message on the sites, including Hi-Thaksin.net and TrueThaksin.com, urged supporters of the ousted prime minister to greet him at Suvarnabhumi airport. There has been no confirmation on Mr Thaksin's behalf of the exact time and date of his expected return although it is believed he will confirm the website reports by his followers today. Mr Thaksin is currently believed to be in China. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Elephant executed

Posted by hasekamp on 26 February 2008 at 11:38 AM
Plai Khai Heed, an elephant that injured a villager in Nakhon Si Thammarat's Phrom Khiri district on Wednesday, died yesterday from multiple gunshot wounds, prompting criticism of the villagers' excessive use of firearms. Meanwhile the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department warned the public to be cautious when travelling through Tab Lan, Khao Yai, Khao Ang Reu Nai, Kaeng Krajan and Kui Buri national parks, where they were likely to encounter wild elephants. When Plai Khai Heed crossed over from Phibun district to Tambon Thon Hong in Phrom Khiri district and injured rubber-tapper Thavorn Ratchakijja, 45, villagers shot at it until it fled into a nearby forest. The next morning, the injured pachyderm emerged, and some villagers, mostly teenagers, reportedly fired at it again before Khanom district veterinarian Pornpirom Fungtrakul, a volunteer with Friends of the Asian Elephant Foundation, hit it with a tranquilliser dart. A village elder, said that despite the veterinarian's plea for them to stop, many people on motorcycles chased the beast, making it even angrier. He said he had then heard 10 gunshots as if the villagers were "trying out their fire power". He said the elephant had been born in the area and was now aged 51. (Source: The Nation)


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Increasing number of Temple robberies

Posted by hasekamp on 24 February 2008 at 13:26 PM
An increase in robberies of valuable artifacts from ancient temples in the former capital city of Ayutthaya are driving monks to despair. One recent heist which shocked Buddhists the most was the removal of gold foil from two large reclining Buddha images - Phra Buddhasaiyart Mongkol Sanpetch and Phra Buddhasaiyart Mongkol Chinawat - at Bang Plamaw temple in tambon Namtao of Ayutthaya's Bang Ban district. The robbers also extracted gold from the gate of the temple's ordination hall. Temple abbot Phra Maha Prasert Jantawiro, 53, said losses were put at 15 million baht. Temple robberies mostly involve the theft of ancient Buddha images and valuables such as dharma cabinets and brass accessories. Few stolen goods are ever retrieved. Four other robberies took place at Wat Choengtha, Wat Bamrungtham, Wat Kudilai, and Wat Bang Plamaw over a period of just two months in Ayutthaya. Phra Mali Thammathaso, the 51-year-old acting abbot of Wat Choengtha, said thieves stole eight sema - leaf-like boundary stones - from around the temple's old ordination hall in the early hours of Jan 2 this year. "The sema are priceless. They were with the temple for ages," the monk said. Thieves also broke into the ordination hall late last year but did not get anything, he said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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New War on Drugs

Posted by hasekamp on 22 February 2008 at 23:31 PM
Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej yesterday defended the government's policy to get tough with drug dealers, while Interior Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung said it would "be natural" if more than 2,700 people were killed during the crackdown. "Should we do nothing because we are afraid that someone is going to criticise us for silence killings that may occur?" Samak said, when asked about the revival of the government's "war on drugs" and the possibility of many more killings. The war on drugs launched by the Thaksin Shinawatra-led government saw more than 2,800 allegedly drug-related deaths. Police claimed that those murdered were drug traffickers targeted by fellow traffickers to prevent them from speaking up. Chalerm, the first government figure to push for the revival of the tough policy on drugs, reiterated his stand yesterday. "It's a good policy," he said. (Source: The Nation)


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Barack Obama favorite in Thailand

Posted by hasekamp on 22 February 2008 at 23:26 PM
Barack Obama has easily won the primary election by Democrats Abroad, held at a Bangkok Starbucks and other unlikely venues worldwide early this month. Obama trounced Hillary Clinton by about 2-to-1, the results showed. No one was in third place. Of 598 votes cast by American Democrats in Thailand, Obama won 415 votes against Clinton's 169 - 69.4 per cent against just 28.3 per cent. Edwards (5), Kucinich (4), Biden (2), Uncommitted (2) and Richardson (1) also won votes in Thailand, according to tallies by Democrats Abroad. Overseas Americans who back the Democrat Party voted by Internet, mail and in person, according to results released by the Democrats Abroad group in Washington, an organisation sanctioned by the national party. More than 20,000 U.S. citizens living abroad voted in the primary, which ran from Feb. 5 to Feb. 12. Obama won about 65 per cent of the vote, according to the results released on Thursday in Washington. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Makha Bucha Day

Posted by hasekamp on 21 February 2008 at 13:09 PM
Love is a force in the human heart that is so influential it creates various contradicting emotions such as happiness, sorrow, gladness, depression, passiveness and eagerness. Some poets say love makes the world go round, turns a bad man into a good person and that love is a great inspiration. However, love is not just limited to romantic love between men and women but covers the love of parents for their children, teachers for their students, friends for friends and one to mankind and other creatures of the earth. With love that has a wider meaning and boundaries, it is what makes all humans in all nations, languages and races try and co-exist in peace. Many people regard Makha Bucha Day, which is a Buddhist holiday, as the "Day of Love" because this day commemorates a special phenomenon called Jaturongkhasannibat. On the auspicious 15th full moon day in the third lunar month after Lord Buddha had attained enlightenment for nine months, 1,250 disciples - all were Arahants and admitted to the monkhood by the Buddha himself - had gathered at the Buddha's Veruvan Monastery by coincidence. It was also the day that Lord Buddha announced the fundamental teaching namely Owat Patimok to the assembly, a declaration of Dhamma principles and practices of Buddhism. Its core idea was for humans to lead a life of virtue doing all kinds of goodness, to refrain from all kinds of wickedness, and to purify one's mind by observing the precepts and meditation in order to reach enlightenment. This means that Lord Buddha taught all to have a great love, a non-selfish kind of love and was full of mercy to one's fellow beings. Thus on Makha Bucha Day 2008, the Culture Ministry's Office of the National Culture Commission has invited everyone to celebrate the "Buddhist Day of Love" by following Lord Buddha's steps of giving love and mercy to oneself, one's family and people around them, as well as to all of one's fellow human beings. (Source: The Nation)


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Tsunami alert now lifted

Posted by hasekamp on 20 February 2008 at 13:37 PM
Thailand lifted a tsunami alert for Phuket and five nearby provinces, saying there was no longer any danger following a powerful earthquake Wednesday off Indonesia's Sumatra island. "The National Disaster Warning Centre has investigated and analysed more information, and found that there was no tsunami that could affect Thailand," the centre said in a statement. "Therefore we want to lift our alert warning as of 4:40pm," the statement said. The alert was issued for the six provinces on the Andaman Sea where the Indian Ocean tsunami struck in December 2004, when 5,400 people were killed in Thailand. About half of the victims were foreign holidaymakers. The quake, which had a preliminary magnitude of 7.6, struck under the island of Simeulue off the western coast of Sumatra island. The US Geological Survey said the undersea quake, which had preliminary magnitude about 7.6, struck at 3:08 pm (0808 GMT) some 312 kilometres west-southwest of the North Sumatra capital Medan, at a depth of 34 kilometres. The tremor can be felt in island of Phuket as well as in Bangkok. People in the highrise buildings on Silom and Sathorn roads also felt the tremor. (Source: The Nation)


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DNA test for southern rebels

Posted by hasekamp on 20 February 2008 at 13:34 PM
Security authorities in the far South have adopted cutting-edge forensic and DNA testing technology to separate insurgent suspects from innocent villagers. The move was introduced by the 39th Narathiwat special task force with cooperation from the Central Institute of Forensic Science. Yesterday, a forensic team led by the institute's acting director-general Khunying Porntip Rojanasunan performed tests on 160 village defence volunteers in nine tambons of Rueso district, where the task force is based, to compare their DNA samples and fingerprints with those collected from scenes of rebel attacks. The aim was to identify and track down insurgents who have been hiding among innocent villagers, said Lt-Col Pathawee Srisuk, the commander of the special task force. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Jail sentence for luring young girls

Posted by hasekamp on 19 February 2008 at 15:39 PM
The Criminal Court sentenced Tuesday a 61-year-old American man to 16 years in jail for luring two underage girls into performing lewd acts, which he videotaped. Police told the court they had received a tip off that some tourists were molesting Thai girls in a bungalow in Northern Pattaya Beach in Chon Buri's Bang La Mung district. They arrested Glen Allen Richard, 61, at his hotel room on February 17 last year. He was accused of paying two 14 year-old Thai girls Bt500 each to perform oral sex on him while he videotaped them. Richard maintained his innocence and said he was only a tourist and denied the charges. However, the court decided evidence from witnesses and officials provided a true account of the defendant's behavior and they had no reason to defame him. Richard's testimony was deemed unconvincing, and the court found him guilty as charged he was sentenced to a 16years prison term. (Source: The Nation)


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Plan to control dengue fever

Posted by hasekamp on 18 February 2008 at 19:41 PM
Thailand's Public Health Ministry plans to impose stringent rules to control the spread of the dengue fever as the number of patients has been rising at an alarming rate since early this year, according to Dr. Thawat Suntrajarn, director-general of Thailand's Disease Control Department. From January 1 to February 9, the disease has killed four people this year, with the accumulated number of patients soaring to 2,824 in just over a month. As many as 70 per cent of patients were in provinces in the Central region, he added. In the comparable period last year, there were 1,700 patients and no deaths reported. During calendar 2007, 29 people died of dengue fever while the number of patients stood at about 60,000 overall. Expressing worry over the crisis, Dr. Thawat said the Ministry of Public Health will impose severe measures to respond to the situation. He said the ministry has authorized local administrative bodies to impose fines on households that failed to cooperate with the ministry to eradicate the mosquito breeding habitats. If any areas are unable to control the spread of the dengue fever, the Department of Disease Control would advise the ministry to enforce this act. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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More sex education

Posted by hasekamp on 18 February 2008 at 19:38 PM
The Office of Basic Education Commission (Obec) is going to expand sex education to 5,000 more schools to teach children self esteem and sexual abstinence. "Our sex education will focus on activities that make children aware of their values and honor," Obec secretary-general Khunying Kasama Varawarn said. Currently, Obec is also holding public hearings to gather opinions on how best to develop its central curriculum. "We are gathering opinions in the North, the South and the Northeast," Kasama said. (Source: The Nation)


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Cheap rice

Posted by hasekamp on 18 February 2008 at 19:34 PM
With the price of consumer goods constantly rising, people may not be able to buy very much at a market with only two baht in their pocket. But if they go to Amnart Thongsema's stall on Charoen Krung 85 road, they will get a full bowl of steamed white rice, enough to fill an empty stomach. Everywhere people are tightening their belts to cope with the rising costs of consumer goods, but Mr Amnart's two-baht bowls of rice are helping low-income earners make ends meet. The 43-year-old from Ratchaburi sells steamed rice cheaper than elsewhere between 12.30am and 10pm every day. He stopped selling fruit six years ago due to uncertain profit margins and now feels comfortable with his income from steamed rice, although he sells it cheap, two baht a bowl of white rice, three baht for Hom Mali fragrant rice, and four baht for husked rice. Despite his relatively cheap prices, Mr Amnart said his business was viable and he could also buy good-quality rice for his customers. He did not raise his prices, despite the rising cost of cooking gas. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Channel 11 to be improved

Posted by hasekamp on 16 February 2008 at 11:23 AM
Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej said he plans to improve television Channel 11 but vowed not to interview the work of the media. He said the station will be politically-neutral and will not support the government. His plan to make progress the station under the Public Relations Department (PRD) came after his dream to set up a new television station is washed away because laws prohibits the establishment of a channel. The programmes of Channel 11 will be mostly news and features, and work will be carried out by professionals, he said. Mr Samak also dismissed reports about the sacking of the PRD director-general Pramoj Rathavinij, who signed an order ending transmissions of TITV. The frequency is now used for the Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Source:The Bangkok Post)


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Metered taxis in Phuket

Posted by hasekamp on 15 February 2008 at 14:13 PM
Phuket taxi drivers are among the most irritating people on the planet. One of the reasons for this is that many of them overchrge tourists heavily. The following therefore is good news.
A committee of tourism and transport officials yesterday agreed to allow Phuket Taxi Meter Service to operate 23 more metered taxis out of Phuket International Airport (PIA), while a request by Phuket Mai Khao Company to operate 20 metered taxis was tentatively approved. Chaired by Phuket Vice-Governor Tri Augkaradacha, the committee granted permission for Phuket Taxi Meter Service, which has been operating 42 metered taxis PIA, to use 65 vehicles in total. Phuket Taxi Meter Service had applied to operate 46 more metered taxis at the airport. Phuket Mai Khao Co had its request for permission to operate 20 metered taxis tentatively approved, awaiting confirmation that the company\92s concession from Airports of Thailand (AOT) has been signed by the AOT board. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Ex-TRT politicians are welcome again

Posted by hasekamp on 13 February 2008 at 14:26 PM
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce Doctor Surapong Suebwonglee commented on the fact that many government agency executives have continually resigned and left open positions in the ministry. Doctor Surapong said that as the matter is his responsibility he is considering utilizing the 111 Thai Rak Thai executives who were banned from political involvement to fill in the voided seats. The Minister of Commerce said that if the move is legal he views that the 111 former politicians are well equipped to work in government agencies and would fulfill the roles with their experience. Doctor Surapong said he wants citizens the view the consideration as based on the capabilities and skills of the 111 former party members and not as politically motivated. He said that he firmly believes each persons experience would be beneficial in the running of the agencies and will lead to improvements in the nation. (Source: Public Relations Department)


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Army: Martial law necessary

Posted by hasekamp on 13 February 2008 at 14:22 PM
Thailand should maintain martial laws to provide safety for people and public, Army Commander in Chief Gen Anupong Paojinda said Wednesday. The army believed that the martial laws are necessary to prevent threats, including narcotics, from entering the Kingdom. "From security officers' points of view, the laws are needed to enable officials concerned to work for the sake of national security," he said. However the government may have other reasons to consider if it really believed that the laws should be lifted. The army boss was responding to reports that Samak government is considering lifting the martial laws issued after the coup two years ago in some northern provinces. The military junta imposed the laws to curb movements of pro-Thaksin movement in the areas. Gen Anupong declined to comment on Interior Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung's idea to tackle the southern problems by setting up "special administration zones" in the troublesome provinces. (Source: The Nation)


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A new constitution again?

Posted by hasekamp on 13 February 2008 at 14:18 PM
All political parties agree that there are flaws in the 2007 constitution and welcome amendments, Prime Minister's Office Minister Chusak Sirinil said Wednesday. Mr Chusak, assigned by Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej to direct work to amend the constitution drafted during the military-elected government, said he expects it will take a few months to study the charter thoroughly before any amendments can be proposed to Mr Samak. He insisted the amendments are not aimed at granting amnesty to any political groups. He added that the government will take into consideration the balancing of power of the three branches and the monitoring of the administrative branch. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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THAI flies to Samui

Posted by hasekamp on 11 February 2008 at 11:47 AM
Thai Airways International (THAI) will this week launch twice-daily flights between Bangkok and Samui Island, targeting European tourists making stopovers in the capital, the national carrier announced Monday. The daily flights will begin on Thursday using Boeing 737-400 airplanes with a capacity of 149 passengers. "We aim to make the route very competitive by marketing it to tourists from major European cities currently served by THAI connecting through Suvarnabhumi Airport," said THAI Exectuive Vice President Pandit Chanapai. THAI expects more than 70 per cent of passengers on its Bangkok-Samui routes to be foreigners. Pradit described the new route as a "breakthrough" for THAI, the national carrier. Samui, already one of Thailand's most popular resort islands, has for the past two decades been served exclusively by Bangkok Airways, a private airline that owns the island's only airport. THAI must pay Bangkok Airways for the use of its airport and ground services in order to gain access to the island. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Samak wants independent tv station

Posted by hasekamp on 10 February 2008 at 19:02 PM
Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej Sunday hinted that an independent television station would soon spring into operation. "Justice is not seen when the most neutral, the best and viable television station is closed," Samak said on a state radio. He did not mention the iTV, though. He added that within one or two days, he would prove that capable people would have a channel where their abilities could be put into great use. "They will have a channel where they can work independently. Then, we will see which stations - the independent or the public television stations, is better," Samak said in response to a suggestion that his government should crack down on media outlets critical of government. (Source: The Nation)


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Activists want government to prove itself

Posted by hasekamp on 10 February 2008 at 19:00 PM
Activist groups would allow the coalition government of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej a maximum honeymoon period of five months to prove itself, a senior member of a major activist group said Sunday. Suriyasai Katasila, secretary general of the Democracy Campaign Committee (DCC), said activist groups would not hold any demonstration against the newly appointed government during the five month period in order to allow it to work freely. Activist groups, which launched marathon demonstrations leading to the September 19, 2006 bloodless coup which toppled the Thaksin Shinawatra government, were ready to support the government\92s policies which benefited the majority of the people and \93not just one person\94, said Mr. Suriyasai. The DCC would also set up a working group to closely monitor the government\92s performance, he added. Touching on the planned return Thailand of Mr. Thaksin, who has been living in self-imposed exile abroad since the 2006 coup, Mr. Suriyasai said if the deposed prime minister returned home in mid February as widely speculated, he and his wife should strictly adhere to legal provisions in fighting graft charges laid against them in court. Mr. Suriyasai also warned Mr. Chakrapob Penkair, minister attached to the Prime Minister\92s Office, on the plan to form committees to monitor what the latter called the \93impartiality of news coverage\94 by state media. The plan was sensitive and also sent a signal of media suppression, in particular with regard to radio and television networks, which would prevent them from criticizing the government, said Mr. Suriyasai. He added journalist associations should join hands to prevent the government\92s scheme. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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No more smoking in pubs

Posted by hasekamp on 10 February 2008 at 18:39 PM
From tonight, Bangkok's legendary nightlife will be under a cloud as pubs, bars and discotheques are legally required to ban smoking in air conditioned zones. To many nightlife lovers, cigarettes have long been part of the fun. "After the ban takes effect, it will take time for customers to adjust themselves to the rule," a pub manager said. He expected to see a sharp drop in customers for some time. Another entertainment manager said more than 80 per cent of his customers smoked. "Once the ban starts, we will face a serious impact," he said.
However, non-smokers eagerly welcome the smoking ban, believing it will allow them to enjoy themselves much more at entertainment venues. (Source: The Nation)


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Thaksin back within days?

Posted by hasekamp on 8 February 2008 at 15:51 PM
Ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is likely to return from exile within days, after completing a tour of South America, the Matichon newspaper reported exlusively on Friday. The newspaper, quoting "an informed source in the People Power party" now ruling the country, said Mr Thaksin intends to get his legal fight under way against corruption charges filed by a military-appointed committee. "He will return to Thailand and report to police to be charged, and to fight the cases filed against him," the newspaper report claimed. But he hopes to remain in Thailand only a week, to handle legal matters, according to the report. Then the ex-premier intends to ask the court for permission to travel while on bail, and head abroad again. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Weekly broadcast by PM

Posted by hasekamp on 7 February 2008 at 17:56 PM
Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej is set to hold a weekly television program to communicate with the public starting Sunday. The programme, called Poodja Prasa Samak (or Talking in Samak's Style), will be launched on February 10 through tv Channel 11 for the first time. If unavailable to attend the program, Mr Samak said he will call in to the state television station to talk to the people. The new prime minister is scheduled to meet with leaders of the armed forces on Monday when he is to begin his first day as defense minister. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Plans for airport in Phang Nga

Posted by hasekamp on 6 February 2008 at 15:32 PM
The Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) will request a budget of 1.3 billion baht from the new Cabinet to fund construction of a domestic airport in Phang Nga province. Plans have already been drawn up for the construction of an airport that would cover 1,400 rai on Koh Khao, a 45,000-rai island in Takuapa district. The DCA will submit plans, along with the results of public opinion surveys, to the government. The results of several public surveys showing support for the airport have already been returned to the DCA, allowing funding to now be sought, Chief of Phang Nga Governor\92s Office Sakon Chaowananont told the Phuket Gazette on Monday. About 84% of those surveyed were in support of the DCA\92s plans. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Revising the content on the Web

Posted by hasekamp on 6 February 2008 at 15:27 PM
The Tourism Authority of Thailand has begun a new online campaign that includes a plan to "improve and edit all the information about Thailand" in the hundreds of articles about Thailand on Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia. The project, with more targeted e-marketing, is expected to help travel suppliers increase their revenue and also create a better reputation for Thai tourism among travellers worldwide, according to Thapanee Kiatphaibool, assistant director of marketing information technology for the state agency. The campaign includes five projects that aim to increase visitors to Thailand and create a better impression through different online marketing approaches to target groups:
\95 Thailand Amazing Deals will promote travel products via the new site (amazingthailand.TourismThailand.org) and e-mail campaigns targeting an estimated 1.1 million global travellers, travel trade businesses, media representatives and bloggers.
\95 Her Own Way will promote travel products including golf, shopping, beauty and spa services via HerOwnWay.TourismThailand.org, with e-mail acquisition campaigns and e-brochures targeting female travellers from Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Middle East.
\95 Thailand Portfolio will distribute content including photos, videos and travel articles through the world's top user-generated media websites such as flickr.com, igougo.com, and youtube.com.
\95 The Amazing Shot ... Amazing Experience Contest will encourage domestic and international travellers to post stories of their travel experiences in Thailand through video clips in order to win prizes.
\95 The Wiki Mission for Thailand will attempt to involve travellers in improving and editing all of the information about Thailand on Wikipedia.org and on Wikitravel.org. We wo9nder when the Thai authorities will approach us to revise our site! (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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King: Be honest

Posted by hasekamp on 6 February 2008 at 15:24 PM
His Majesty the King Bhumibol on Wednesday swore in the new 36-member cabinet, telling ministers they must keep their promise to work for the nation - with honesty first and foremost. Honesty is a sacred word, he said. Cabinet ministers had the option to refuse to take an oath. Since they volunteered to take that oath, he told them: "Now that you have shown your intention to work with honesty, you will have to follow it, otherwise it is not sacred," said the monarch. "We need adults to run the country. If you act like adults, the people will have someone to hold on to. Many countries in the world are in trouble because their peoples have no one to hold on to. "Your principle must be to work for the public interest. You may think it\92s strange that 36 people will have to sacrifice for 63 million people. But 63 million people are hoping that their ministers will work for them. "It\92s an uphill mission but I believe you can do it for the people and they won\92t be disappointed. "In other countries, we hardly see people who work for public interest but you have to do it. If you are successful in doing that, you will be very elegant and full of dignity. May you follow your oath and be honest for the sake of the country\92s happiness." At his first press conference immediately after the swearing in of Thailand's 57th cabinet, the often combative Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej played nice with the media, and said that from now on, he would be friendly and "talk sweetly" to them. The prime minister is to chair the first official cabinet meeting on Friday. Members are to discuss details of the government's policy statement, which must be read to the public within two weeks, and submitted to the House of Representatives for debate. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Trying to save the elephants

Posted by hasekamp on 4 February 2008 at 18:24 PM
Robed in dark blue fabric, the three elephants walked calmly in line to the commemoration ground and slowly crouched in front of HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana's photo to pay tribute to the late Princess. The jumbos_Phang Phra Thida Juthanant, 14, Phang Wanalee, 10, and the four-year-old Phang Aleena, who shares the Princess' birthday, May 6, were adopted and named by the Princess years ago. The Princess' adoption of the elephants and her support for Thai elephant conservation by accepting the Lampang-based National Elephant Institute (NEI) under her patronage in 2002 has sparked public awareness of protection of the animals in the country. In remembrance of the Princess' dedication to elephant conservation, the NEI last week held a commemoration ceremony attended by officials and the three adopted elephants. With the Princess' support, the NEI, run by the Forestry Industry Organisation (FIO) under the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, came up with various projects including the establishment of the country's first elephant hospital, which provides free medical treatment for sick and injured jumbos, and an artificial breeding program. The latest initiative is so-called "elephant therapy" for children with autism, which was launched in April last year. Supporters believe that close encounters with gentle animals like elephants will help improve the mental and physical condition of children with autism. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Cabinet to be sworn in tomorrow

Posted by hasekamp on 4 February 2008 at 18:19 PM
His Majesty the King will grant a royal audience at 4.30pm tomorrow for the prime minister to receive the royal command on the Cabinet line-up. His Majesty will also preside over the swearing-in ceremony for the Cabinet members following the royal audience with Samak Sundaravej. The Cabinet Secretariat yesterday submitted the list of Cabinet appointments for royal approval. The Office of His Majesty's Principal Private Secretary outlined the palace protocols for the Cabinet appointments and the swearing-in to take place on the same day. Samak said the process of vetting his ministers' qualifications was complete and he was awaiting the scheduling of the royal audience. People Power Party deputy secretary-general Noppadon Pattama said the Cabinet members were obliged to work hard to prove their competence. Noppadon praised Samak for being honest in admitting that his Cabinet had some shortcomings. (Source: The Nation)


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Mosquito-repelling robe for Monks

Posted by hasekamp on 3 February 2008 at 19:42 PM
The Thailand Textile Institute (THTI) has developed a mosquito-repelling robe for monks to help protect them from mosquitoes when practicing the dharma, according to THTI Executive Director Virat Tandaechanurat. Mr. Virat said the anti-mosquito robe can drive away 97 per cent of urban mosquitos and passed tests conducted by the Department of Medical Sciences, Ministry of Public Health. The specially made robe is 10-20 per cent more expensive than regular monks robes, he said. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Free cancer drug

Posted by hasekamp on 3 February 2008 at 19:38 PM
In a major breakthrough on the final days of the outgoing interim government, a giant pharmaceutical firm has\A0agreed to provide a\A0life-saving drug, Imatinib, free, to cancer patients under the universal healthcare scheme in exchange for Thailand opting to not\A0issue compulsory licences on the drug, the outgoing Thai Public Health Minister said on Thursday. Dr. Mongkol Na Songkhla announced that Novartis (Thailand) and its regional headquarters said in its letter to the department that the company would provide Imatinib for patients suffering from leukaemia and gastrointestinal cancer without charge under the Glivec International Patient Assistance Programme-GIPAP). The free access to the life-saving drug will be given to those patients who have household income per year less than Bt 1.7 million (US$51,515). (Source: Thai News Agency)


Category: Default

Crematorium approved

Posted by hasekamp on 3 February 2008 at 19:35 PM
Export Promotion Department Director-General Rachane Pojanasunthorn on Friday expressed confidence that the country's exports would grow 10-12.5 per cent as targeted this year despite a lot of risk factors from the currency volatility and the global economic slowdown. Although the baht continued to strengthen, the United States had experienced economic woes, and the global economy slowed down, he said, the department is still confident that exports would expand 10-12.5 per cent as projected with a total value of US$165-169 billion. At present, he said, the private sector had already adjusted itself to the fluctuation and the Bank of Thailand had closely monitored the currency exchange rate volatility. He believed the exports would continue growing in the first quarter of this year with the shipment of products in January expected to reach $13-14 billion. (Source: Thai News Agency)


Category: Default

Export promotion expects growth

Posted by hasekamp on 1 February 2008 at 18:27 PM
Export Promotion Department Director-General Rachane Pojanasunthorn on Friday expressed confidence that the country's exports would grow 10-12.5 per cent as targeted this year despite a lot of risk factors from the currency volatility and the global economic slowdown. Although the baht continued to strengthen, the United States had experienced economic woes, and the global economy slowed down, he said, the department is still confident that exports would expand 10-12.5 per cent as projected with a total value of US$165-169 billion. At present, he said, the private sector had already adjusted itself to the fluctuation and the Bank of Thailand had closely monitored the currency exchange rate volatility. He believed the exports would continue growing in the first quarter of this year with the shipment of products in January expected to reach $13-14 billion. (Source: Thai News Agency)


Category: Default

Shadow cabinet to be formed

Posted by hasekamp on 1 February 2008 at 18:25 PM
Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva announced on Thursday his party will set up "shadow government" to monitor Samak coalition's performance. Abhisit made the announcement on the first day of his party's seminar in Chon Buri. "Our party members will be selected to work along every ministry of Samak Sundaravej," he said. His government will not only criticise the Samak government's performance and handling of problems but also propose solutions to those problems. The setting up of the shadow government is common practice of many countries, he said.(Source: The Nation)


Category: Default

Meet the new PM

Posted by hasekamp on 1 February 2008 at 18:22 PM
The new prime minister, Samak Sundaravej is welcoming throngs of visitors, including local and international press at his home on Soi Nawamin 81 this morning. A large number of people have already flocked to his home carrying congratulatory flower bouquets. According to reports, Mr Samak has already been interviewed by a CNN correspondent. He has reportedly lined up interviews with other foreign news agencies throughout the day. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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