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PAD rejects national government

Posted by hasekamp on 31 October 2008 at 11:16 AM
The People's Alliance for Democracy Friday rejected former deputy prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyuhd's proposal to set up a government of national unity. Pipop Thongchai, a PAD co-leader, said the PAD insists in its goal to push for new politics. Chamlong Srimuang, another PAD co-leader, said the PAD could not accept any government headed by Prime Minster Somchai Wongsawat. He said Somchai had to resign because he had lost legitimacy to govern.
So, the PAD only wants to rule the country alone, and without election? It looks very much like this is the only thing they want. (Source: The Nation)


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Supreme Court to listen to Thaksin speech

Posted by hasekamp on 31 October 2008 at 11:12 AM
The Supreme Court is going to monitor former premier Thaksin Shinawatra's address to his supporters at a gathering today in order to determine whether there is an act in contempt of court, a source said Friday. The president of the Supreme Court called a meeting of senior executives and judges from the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Political Office Holders on Monday to discuss about the matter, according to the source. If Thaksin comments in contempt of court or any judge, legal action will be taken against him, said the judge, who added that such offense carries the penalty of 1-7 years' imprisonment and a fine of between Bt2,000 and Bt14,000. The court president also warned the media against publishing possible libelous comments by Thaksin, the source said. Thaksin is expected to make a phone-in during the gathering of his supporters organized by the hosts of the Truth Today television program, which is broadcast on the state-run NBT, at the Rajamangala Stadium. (Source: The Nation)


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Bomb for the PAD

Posted by hasekamp on 30 October 2008 at 15:26 PM
Nine people were wounded, one seriously, when someone threw an explosive among anti-government protesters at Makkhawan Bridge near the Government House. The bomb was lobbed at around 3:30am from outside the gathering of members of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), who have been staging anti-government protests since May 25 around the Makkahawan Rangsan Bridge, site of the explosion. The target appeared to be a "forward post" used by internal security guards of the PAD movement, which has established its current headquarters inside nearby Government House. PAD core leader Chamlong Srimuang blamed the attack on the government.
Because the Bangkok Post can not be considered impartial, where news about the PAD is concerned, one has to wait for further news before any conclusion can be drawn (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Anti-smoking model

Posted by hasekamp on 29 October 2008 at 13:56 PM
The Global Smoke Free Partnership Steering Group has cited Thailand as an outstanding country for its accomplishment in controlling tobacco consumption, the Public Health Ministry's permanent secretary, Dr Prat Boonyawongvirot said Wednesday. Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Bloomberg Foundation have given Bt 33 million to Thailand in a bid to support its 100 per cent smoke free environment project and raise awareness about the dangers of smoking. Prat was presented the Global Smoke free Partnership 2008 Award-GSP Extraordinary Award at the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco First Asian Regional Conference which is being held in Bangkok from October 28 - 31. The award was also presented to the government of Panama, the Inter American Heart Association of Mexico, and Hermant Goswami from India. He said Thailand was one of the first 40 countries to ratify the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, a global health treaty that promotes a comprehensive set of anti-tobacco intervention. (Source: the Nation)


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March to Sukhumvit

Posted by hasekamp on 29 October 2008 at 13:54 PM
PAD core leader Pipob Thongchai said that the anti-government protestors will march to Sukhumvit Road on Thursday, starting from the British embassy to the Emporium department store. Gathering at the British embassy to file a complaint, objecting to ousted prime minister Thaksin's application for political asylum in Britain is being under consideration. After that the PAD would march to Sukhumvit road on Thursday to distribute the public with leaflets and VCDs on the police action against protesters. "Protesting on a public road is the PAD's right under the constitution and it does not violate anyone's personal rights," Mr. Pipob said, as it can be done in public areas. Although it sometimes causes traffic congestion, those affected must sacrifice for the public." (Source: Thai News Agency)


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PAD receives donations

Posted by hasekamp on 29 October 2008 at 13:52 PM
The anti-government People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) said that donations for casualties from the violent clash at Parliament on October 7 has reached more than Bt35 million, while the anti-government protesters plan to petition at the British embassy to object the political asylum's attempt of former prime minister Thaksin Shinwatra. Top PAD leader Maj-Gen. Chamlong Srimuang said the protest group's balance sheet for the victims of the October 7 incident totaled over Bt 35 million, of which Bt5.5 million would be given to families of the victims who died while Bt29.6 million was set for the wounded protesters. The PAD initially gave Bt1 millon (about US$28,000) to the families of the two persons who died in the clash, he said, adding that protesters injured to the extent that they could no longer conduct their careers were awarded Bt500,000 each (about $14,000). The other wounded protesters received assistance in descending order depending on the degree of severity of the injuries. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Best tourism award

Posted by hasekamp on 26 October 2008 at 9:31 AM
Thailand has been voted the world's "Best Tourist Country" for the second consecutive year in an annual tourism award ceremony in Copenhagen, a senior official said yesterday. Stockholm director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand Manit Boonchim reported that Thailand had won the award at the ceremony on October 9 held by the Danish travel magazine Stand By at the Hilton Copenhagen Airport Hotel. It was the 13th time that the annual event had been held. The ranking was based on votes from 8,000 tourists and business operators in Denmark, he said, and Thailand bested over 40 other countries to win the award.
If the PAD goes on as it does this will probably be the last time Thailand wins the award. On the other hand, if the award is only dependent on 3000 tourists from Denmark, one never knows... (Source: The Nation)


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Somchai explains

Posted by hasekamp on 25 October 2008 at 10:16 AM
Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat on Friday discussed Thailand's political situation with European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso on the sidelines of ASEM 7 in the Chinese capital. For Thailand the sidelines are central to the government's hopes for the success of the two-day Seventh Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) which opened in Beijing on Friday were aimed at strengthening ties between the kingdom and the European Commission, said Mr. Somchai. He later told journalists that the European executive had asked about the nearly five years of violence in Thailand's three southernmost provinces - Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala - and the two-month occupation of Government House in Bangkok by the People's Alliance for Democracy. The EC chief, according to Mr. Somchai, wanted to see further development in Thailand as well as solving problems in line with the democratic process, which he said was accepted by every party. "A number of national leaders have reiterated that recognition of an elected government (is necessary to being perceived as a democracy)," Mr. Somchai said, "and believe that problems should be raised inside the chambers of parliament rather than outside." (Source: Thai News Agency)


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PAD asks protection

Posted by hasekamp on 24 October 2008 at 17:51 PM
People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) core leaders handed a letter to First Army Commander Lt-Gen Khanit Sapitak, asking soldiers to help protest the PAD supporters as Pol Gen Salang Bunnag threatens to seal off the Government House to block supplies of food and water for the protesters. PAD core leaders Chaiwat Sinsuwong, Karun Sai-ngarm and Somboon Thongburan handed the letter to Lt-Gen Khanit at the First Army Region office, after Pol Gen Salang said he would lead officers to surround the Government House on Saturday. They claimed that the group has the intention to stir unrest and spark violence in the country. They said that their act is to prevent bloody clashes, like the one that took place on Oct 7, which left two people killed and more than 400 injured. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Thaksin plans a speech

Posted by hasekamp on 23 October 2008 at 11:19 AM
Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra will make a phone call from London to speak his heart on November 1 during a mobile Today's Truth talk show at the National Stadium on November 1, he told Reuters. He gave an interview to Reuters that he had canceled his plan to issue a statement on the conviction against him in the Ratchadapisek land case but would instead make a phone call to talk to his supporters during the talk show. The talk show is hosted by People Power Party MP Chatuporn Promphan and some other leading members of the Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship, including Veera Musigapong. The No 1 program will be the second mobile one. The former prime minister told Reuters that he would talk about 20 minutes during the program. Thaksin said he had not yet applied for a political asylum in England and he could use his tourist visa to enter and leave the country with convenience. He said he had been invited to become an adviser in certain countries and some of the countries also offered him their citizenship. Thaksin said he would definitely not return to Thailand now because he would be arrested upon returning to the country. He added that the coup makers had planned all of these unfortunate events against him to prevent him from returning to Thailand.
Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva Thursday urged former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to accept the ruling against him and refrain from dragging the judiciary into the political conflicts. (Source: The Nation)


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Trying to improve the image of Thailand

Posted by hasekamp on 23 October 2008 at 11:14 AM
Thailand will use the Asia and Europe Meeting (ASEM) leaders summit that opens in Bejing on Thursday to restore the kingdom's international lustre that was diminished due to the past two years of domestic political turmoil, according to Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat. The prime minister left Thursday for the Seventh Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM 7) summit to be held in Beijing October 24-25. Mr. Somchai told reporters before leaving Thailand for Beijing that he had prepared various issues to be discussed with ASEM member countries during the gathering, particularly relating to the global financial crisis even if it had originated in the United States and Europe but it was inevitable that there be repercussions in Asia and the ASEAN countries. The Beijing meeting will also be a good opportunity to restore confidence after the country was hit by domestic political turmoil, he said, adding that he would like to tell the countries that even though Thailand is facing problems, it could move ahead. This seems very necessary, with these PAD fellows occupying Government House illegally for more than two months. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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PAD: New constitution has hidden agenda

Posted by hasekamp on 22 October 2008 at 16:13 PM
Attempts by the Thai government to rewrite the Constitution have a hidden agenda as it would grant amnesty to ousted, fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and all 111 former executives of the court-disbanded Thai Rak Thai Party, a core leader of the anti-government People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) charged Wednesday. Core leader Pipop Thongchai told a press conference that Mr. Thaksin, now living in Britain with his family, had attempted to keep the present government headed by Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat in power so that it could amend the 2007 charter, written by legal and constitution exports appointed by coupmakers. The objective of amending the charter is to grant amnesty to Mr. Thaksin, ousted in a bloodless coup on Sept 19, 2006, and to 111 former executives of the Thai Rak Thai party (TRT), which Mr. Thaksin founded and used as his vehicle to political power, said Mr. Pipop. The 111 former TRT executives were banned from politics for five years after the TRT was disbanded after it was found guilty by the Constitutional Court of financing obscure parties to run against it in elections to avoid rules requiring a minimum voter turnout. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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New constitution in 120 days

Posted by hasekamp on 21 October 2008 at 17:07 PM
Cabinet on Tuesday resolved that the country's new constitution drafting committee (CDA) should be given a revised timeframe of 120 days to amend the 2007 Constitution, cutting the timeframe in half from the previous 240 days. Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Somsak Prissanananthakul proposed that the CDA should finish rewriting the Charter article within 120 days as the government might be criticized for setting up the CDA to buy time for it to continue in office. The prime minister and coalition parties agreed that the timeframe will be cut by half from 240 days to 120 days, according to Culture Minister Worawat Ua-apinyakul. Deputy Finance Minister Pradit Phattharaprasit said that he is confident that the CDA revision of the charter will be accepted by all sides before the next election. Dissolution of the House for a new election, if it happens, will bring back an old problem, Mr. Pradit suggested. The constitution drafting assembly is a better solution, he said adding that he believed the opposition party would return to join the joint panel of the government, senate, and house speaker to set up the CDA after the timeframe was cut short. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Verdict will be sent to UK

Posted by hasekamp on 21 October 2008 at 17:01 PM
The Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions will send its verdict against former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to the Office of the Attorney General to forward England. The court will send both Thai and English versions to Foreign Affairs Department of the Office of the Attorney General to forward to England as evidence against Thakin's request for political asylum in the country. (Source: The Nation)


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Thaksin gets two years

Posted by hasekamp on 21 October 2008 at 16:59 PM
The Supreme Court on Tuesday sentenced ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to two years in jail for abusing power to facilitate a deal for his wife; Khunying Pojamarn, to buy a Bangkok land plot worth 772 million from the state. However the Supreme Court on Holders of Political Office found Pojamarn not guilty and revoked an arrest warrant on her of this trial. Thaksin was found guilty of violating articles 4, 100 and 122 of the National Counter Corruption Commission law which bar holders of public office and their spouses from entering into a contract with the state. The Supreme Court ruled against Thaksin after reading the verdict for about two hours. The Supreme Court ruled 5:4 to say that former prime minister Thaksin knew about his wife's purchasing of land from the Financial Institutions Development Fund. With that knowledge, the court ruled Thaksin also carried out actions that constituted conflict of interest on part of Thaksin as a state official. Before reaching the verdict, the Supreme Court said the Assets Examination Committee had the power to probe the Ratchadpisek land case against Thaksin and his wife. The court dismissed claimed by Thaksin's defence lawyers that the AEC had no authority to probe case the because the AEC was not investigators and because the Financial Institutions Development Fund had not filed complaint regarding to the land purchase. In addition, the court ruled that the AEC was empowered by the court orders to conduct graft probe against the former prime minister so it did not have to wait for the FIDF to file complaint first. The Supreme Court also ruled that the Financial Institutions Development Fund is a state agency so there is ground for trial in the Ratchadapisek land case against former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife. (Source: The Nation)


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Crazy war

Posted by hasekamp on 15 October 2008 at 12:34 PM
Four Thai troops were injured during a clash with Cambodian troops along Thai-Cambodia border on Wednesday, Army spokesman Sansern Kaeowkamnerd said. One Khmer soldier was killed during the clashes. The Thai troops were suffered from sharpnels of explosives and were rushed to a hospital in Si Sa Kaet province. They were injured in one of two clashes with Cambodia at Pa Mo I Daeng in Si Sa Ket province. Another clash Phu Ma Khur caused no casualty. They were first casualties of the Thai-Cambodia border conflicts which were flared up after Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen issued an ultimatum to open war if Thai troops were not withdrawn from the disputed area near the temple. However his ultimatum was shot down as the Thai army vowed to remain troops.
We find this "war" over a Temple, over which the International Court of Justice has given its opinion years ago (in favor of Cambodia) crazy. Has the Thai army nothing better to do than to "play war" about a long decided matter? (Source: The Nation)


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Cambodia threatens with war

Posted by hasekamp on 14 October 2008 at 15:11 PM
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered fresh troops to the border with an ultimatum to Thailand: Pull military forces back today or the border will become a "life and death battle zone". Hun Sen told reporters in Phnom Penh that he had warned Thailand's visiting Foreign Minister Sompong Amornvivat that without a quick pullout, Thai soldiers could face being fired upon by Cambodian troops in "large-scale armed conflict". "If they cannot withdraw tonight, they must withdraw tomorrow," said Hun Sen. "We have tried to be patient, but I told the Thai foreign minister today that the area is a life-and-death battle zone." (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Heavy storm before the year ends

Posted by hasekamp on 14 October 2008 at 15:07 PM
Ten provinces on the coast of the Gulf of Thailand have been warned to brace for one or two storms before year end, which could unleash big waves to hit the provinces. The provinces are Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung, Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat. Deputy Government Spokeswoman Suparat Nakboonnam said the Meteorological Department has alerted the governors of the province to make preparations for the storms, which could hit the Gulf of Thailand anytime from this month until December. The storms would also unleash heavy rains and cause flooding in the provinces. Suparat said the department also informed the Cabinet about the possible storms, big waves and floods in the ten provinces. (Source: The Nation)


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Anand says Thaksin can solve it

Posted by hasekamp on 14 October 2008 at 15:05 PM
Former prime minister Anand Panyarachun said only Thaksin Shinawatra can settle ongoing tensions in the country. "At present, the country is polarised, Lt Col Thaksin is the only one who could unlock all the country's problems. I have no suggestion for Lt Col Thaksin on the matter. But I think he can do it if he has enough sincerity," he said. Anand was speaking after presiding over a cremation of Lt Col Methee Chartmontree, who was killed on October 7 when police dispersed anti-government protesters near the Parliament. Methee was chief of security guards of People's Alliance for Democracy leaders who have led the anti-government protests against ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his successors including Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat. Police's violent dispersal killed a protester; Angkana Radubpanyawoot, 28, and injured many others. The government set up committees to investigate the incident. HM the Queen presided over the cremation of Angkana on Monday and praised her for protecting the country and monarchy. Anand told reporters that he did not know what the government should do regarding the October 7 violence because he was not sure whether Somchai government is independent enough. (Source: The Nation)


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Somchai urges PAD to go

Posted by hasekamp on 13 October 2008 at 8:39 AM
Beleaguered Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat last night pleaded with the occupants of Government House to leave the country's seat of power. In a nationally-televised speech, the premier said he needed Government House to perform several important duties towards the end of the year after which he would consider leaving office. The anti-government People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), which has occupied the Government House compound since August 26, has demanded that Somchai step down or dissolve the House of Representatives. The premier also officially expressed regret for the first time over casualties in the October 7 bloody clashes between police and thousands of PAD protesters in Bangkok. He told the nation that two committees will be set up to investigate the tragic event and to propose remedies for victims. Preecha Panichwong, a former lawyer, will head the fact-finding committee, while Chavarat Charnvirakul, a former public health minister, will chair the second committee. (Source: The Nation)


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Queen to preside over cremation

Posted by hasekamp on 13 October 2008 at 8:36 AM
HM the Queen will preside over cremation of Angkana Radubpanya-avut who was killed when police dispersed anti-government protesters near the Parliament on October 7, Royal Household Bureau said Monday. HM the Queen will go to Sri Prawat Temple in Nonthaburi with HRH Princess Chulabhorn Valayalaksana to attend the cremation which is scheduled at 4pm. Angkana, 28, was killed when police dispersed anti-government protesters on U-Thong Nai road near the Parliament last week. Protesters blocked all entrances of the Parliament in an attempt to block Somchai government from delivering policies. Cause of death of Angkana was still unclear as police claimed they used tear gas to disperse the protesters, but wounds on her body appeared to be severe than because of tear gas. (Source: Th Nation)


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Gen. Prem is confident

Posted by hasekamp on 11 October 2008 at 15:29 PM
Gen. Prem Tinsulanonda, president of the Privy Council and senior statesman, said he is confident that reconciliation among the public could eventually be achieved in Thailand. Declining to say whether it is the right time for the military to come out of their barracks and to try to solve the country's persisting political turbulence, Gen. Prem, a former prime minister, said the military knows their responsibilities. He declined to answer whether it is appropriate for the military to remain neutral following the bloody street protests in Bangkok on Tuesday which saw two persons died and more than 400 others injured during clashes between anti-government protesters of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) and police. Expressing his regret over Tuesday's clashes, Gen. Prem said he could not predict the future but that he hoped that every one would perform his or her own duty. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Chavalit gets his interview back

Posted by hasekamp on 11 October 2008 at 15:26 PM
Army chief General Anupong Paochinda on Friday reminded former deputy prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh to be mindful of his role in the Tuesday's crowd dispersal instead of trying to encourage soldiers to seize power. Chavalit was critical of Anupong when he gave an interview insinuating about indecisiveness to lead the coup. He called on the Army chief to intervene because he saw the coup as the only way to end the political rifts. Anupong countered he could think for himself and that he was completely in full grasp of the situation. He said Chavalit might have been confused in trying to prod the military when he should be reflecting on his performance at the Cabinet meeting on the night of October 6 ahead of the crackdown. (Source: The Nation)


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Government supporters at Muang Thong Thani

Posted by hasekamp on 11 October 2008 at 15:24 PM
Over 10,000 government supporters in red shirt gathered at the Thunder Dome of Muang Thong Thani Chaeng Wattana Saturday morning. They gathered to show support for three controversial hosts of the Today's Truth TV programme on NBT. About 8,500 people jam-packed the stadium while 2,000 others waited outside. The organizers of the event said the government supporters came from several provinces, including Chiang Mai, Phitsanulok, Lampang, Udon Thani and Bangkok. Veera Musigapong, one of the three hosts, said the event was held to measure the strength of the Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship and government supporters for planning measures to counter the People's Alliance for Democracy. (Source: The Nation)


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PAD leaders report to police

Posted by hasekamp on 11 October 2008 at 15:21 PM
Seven leaders of the People's Alliance for Democracy were released from police custody yesterday just hours after turning themselves in for booking. They will have to report to police next on October 24. Maj-General Anan Srihiran, commander of Metropolitan Police Division 1, said police would further interrogate the PAD leaders. The suspects were released on Bt100,000 bail each, with three senators also acting as guarantors for them, police said. Their surrender came a day after the Appeals Court withdrew arrest warrants issued for the PAD leaders on charges of treason, a possibly capital offense. (Source: The Nation)


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Chavalit wants a coup

Posted by hasekamp on 10 October 2008 at 12:45 PM
Former deputy prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, who resigned from the cabinet for ordering police attacks on PAD demonstrations on Tuesday, now says a military-led coup d'etat is the only way to resolve the political strife. Gen Chavalit said the answer lies with army chief Gen Anupong Paojinda, who has repeatedly ruled out a coup. Gen Chavalit said Gen Anupong should immediately return power after staging a coup to allow an interim government to be installed and tackle the political turmoil.
"There is no other way out. A House dissolution cannot solve the problem. The problem can be solved by three institutions - the monarchy, which remains politically neutral, the military, which appears to be not interested in intervening, and the government, which stays above the problem. "So I see [the answer in] a putsch. After the military steps in, power should immediately be returned to the people and an interim government can be formed in which every party takes part. "Tell him [Gen Anupong] not to be afraid. After he does it [stage a coup], he should pull out and let the people take it from there," he said.
Gen Chavalit, who resigned from his cabinet post after Tuesday's clashes between police and anti-government protesters, also suggested there was no need to abolish the entire constitution after a coup. Certain articles of the constitution should be suspended to allow for the appointment of a prime minister and cabinet members who represent all sectors of society, he said. Citing his talks with Maj-Gen Chamlong Srimuang, a core member of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), Gen Chavalit said the PAD had expected to end its siege of Government House on Oct 9 if insurrection charges against its nine core leaders were revoked. He said Oct 11 had been planned for a big event he did not elaborate on. The plan, however, was foiled when he quit the government. Gen Chavalit said PAD leaders were aware they could not prolong their protest because the state funeral for Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana was to be held next month. "From our talks [with Maj-Gen Chamlong], the PAD said it would end the protest. But some demonstrators would move to Ban Phitsanulok where they would set up a people's council to scrutinize the government. "Maj-Gen Chamlong understands we will have an important event and the PAD cannot stay where they are. Our agreement was that it must be cleared up by Oct 23," he said. Gen Chavalit doubted Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat would be able to resume a dialogue with the PAD to end the stalemate, especially when casualties occurred in Tuesday's clashes. PAD core leader and media tycoon Sondhi Limthongkul was not easy to negotiate with, he said. (Source: The Bangkok Post). This was an exclusive interview with the Bangkok Post. We therefore cite it here without further comment.


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PAD directs protest now at police

Posted by hasekamp on 10 October 2008 at 12:34 PM
Chamlong Srimuang, a core leader of the activist People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) said the group planned to protest at the Royal Thai Police headquarters on Monday to criticize the agency for using violence to disperse protesters at Parliament on Tuesday. The demonstrators will gather at the National Stadium before moving to police headquarters. Chamlong asserted that the demonstration will not incite violence, saying that if violence does occurs, it will be from (non-PAD) people who want to incite violence. He added that it was the duty of the police to maintain order. Chamlong said he agreed with the government to set up a fact-finding committee to probe Tuesday's clash at Parliament, which claimed two lives and injured more than 400 protesters and a relatively small number of police. He said committee members must not be police officers or government officials, or the probe may be distorted. Note from Hasekamp Net: Neither should the committee contain PAD-connected persons.
Chamlong said that he agreed with social critic and leading citizen Prawase Wasi to propose Kanit Na Nakhon, former attorney general, to chair the committee. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Chula doctors critisized

Posted by hasekamp on 10 October 2008 at 5:01 AM
Dr. Suthep Koncharnwit, a physician at Chulalongkorn Hospital, said on Wednesday that medical teams from the hospital would not give medical assistance to police who were injured in the clashes with PAD supporters to show that the doctors opposed the use of violence. Medical council chairman Dr. Somsak said the council would investigate the issue. Meanwhile, Thai Red Cross Society secretary-general Dr. Phan Wannamethee and executives of Chulalongkorn Hospital, The Thai Red Cross Society and Chulalongkorn's Faculty of Medicine together issued a statement affirming their stance to treat patients regardless of political belief, race, nationality and religion. Meanwhile, Dr. Suthep from Chulalongkorn apologised for having announced a boycott of medical service to the police, and the emotional remarks he had made at a press conference said he was sorry to have made statements that may have had a negative impact against the hospital. He said some may have misunderstood his intention as he only wanted to urge the authorities and other in responsible positions to understand that the measures government and police used against protesters were not appropriate.
We hope the doctors in question will be banned from the profession anyway. This is so basically wrong! (Source: Thai News Agency)


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PAD leaders free on bail

Posted by hasekamp on 9 October 2008 at 15:30 PM
People's Alliance for Democracy leader Chamlong Srimuang and Chaiwat Sinsuwong are released on bail after Appeals Court has dropped treason charges against PAD leaders on Thursday. Both leaders who were arrested last week on treason charges vowed to return to lead the anti-government protest at the Government House. Protesters erupted in cheers upon learning about the release. Chamlong said after being released that he will return to the protest site at the Government as soon as possible. In separate interview, Chaiwat said he thanked the Appeals Court for dropping the treason charges. Commenting on negotiation with the government, Chaiwat said everybody should wait and see to see whether Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat who is brother-in-law of ousted PM Thaksin Shinawatra was sincere or not in solving the ongoing political crisis. (Source: The Nation)


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Zoo animals stressed

Posted by hasekamp on 9 October 2008 at 4:31 AM
Bangkok's Dusit Zoo made special arrangements to protect its 2,300 animals from being stressed out by the explosive noise and smoke from Tuesday's clashes in its neighbourhood between antigovernment protesters and police. The zoo, located opposite the Parliament building, moved two noisesensitive lesser anteaters to Chon Buri's Khao Kheow Open Zoo, Zoological Park Organisation deputy chief Prayuth Navacharoen said yesterday. Kangaroos and wallabies in cages near the Parliament front road were also moved to a quieter corner of the zoo, he said. Other creatures such as birds in the zoo's large cage did not seem affected by the noise, partly because they were already used to city sounds, he said. However, zoo veterinarians will closely watch the animals for signs of stress. "The impact on animals is not clearly seen - but the effect on fearful human visitors is obvious; many have stopped coming to the zoo since Tuesday," he said.
"Normally during the school break in October, parents choose to bring their kids to visit the zoo and we have at least 1,000 visitors a day," he said. He confirmed that despite the street troubles, the zoo is still open and safe for visiting. (Source: The Nation)


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Doctors refuse to treat police

Posted by hasekamp on 9 October 2008 at 4:26 AM
Doctors of eight hospitals released a statement condemning the police's dispersal of People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) supporters, and called on the government to show responsibility of its action. Chulalongkorn Hospital is the first medical institution that would not treat police officers injured from the incident. "Today, medical team of Chulalongkorn Hospital will not give assistance to police officers injured from the clashes with PAD supporters. This is a social measure to show that doctors and nurses condemn the violent actions," Dr Suthep Koncharnwit, doctors of the hospital said. Doctors from seven other hospitals that jointly released the statement are doctors from Thammasat University, Khon Kaen University, Chiang Mai University, Ramathibodi Hospital, Siriraj Hospital, Srinakharinwirot University and Songkhla Nakharin University.
According to Dr Suthep, the measure will be adopted only at Chulalongkorn Hospital for now.
These doctors are acting agaist their oath and should be banned from the profession. We are amazed that it should come to such irresponsible actions in Thailand. We hope the government will take its responsibility here. (Source The Bangkok Post)


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PM urged to take responsibility

Posted by hasekamp on 8 October 2008 at 12:24 PM
Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat should take responsibility for the bloody street violence that claimed two lives and hundreds of injured on Tuesday after police used tear gas against protesters at Parliament, according to the anti-government People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD). The police took action to open a passage for members of the House and Senate as the government is scheduled to deliver its policy statement. The PAD protesters that encamped in the Government House compound since late August expanded its rally to the environs of the Parliament to stop the legislative body from convening and to protest against the planned constitutional amendments. PAD core leader Pipob Thongchai said the violent clash between the riot police and the PAD protesters showed that the prime minister himself ordered the police to attack the people, which led to the loss of lives and many injured. He said the police did not exercise international standards to disperse protesters, from gentleness to toughness, and there was no warning before the police used tear gas to crackdown against the protesters. The PAD considers the actions of the police as being illegal, and would sent photos showing people hurt by the police to websites worldwide to let the world know the extent of their actions, he said. Moreover, Mr. Pipob said, an independent inquiry committee should be set up to investigate the fatal incident on Tuesday.
The PAD core leader admitted that some police officers were hurt by the PAD demonstrators as they could not control themselves and they had to act in self-defense. Mr. Pipob showed reporters the photographs that he claimed showed police with hand grenades, and using them to hurt people. One demonstrator lost his leg because of this kind of bomb, he said.
Although the police actions were indeed hard, they were justified, if performed conform international standards. We will wait and see what reliable evidence will be shown in the coming days. As we all know, digital pictures can easily be manipulated. The allegation that the police used hand grenades can be rejected without further investigation for the moment. Mr. Pipob cannot be considered to be a reliable witness in this case. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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PAD seeks confrontation

Posted by hasekamp on 8 October 2008 at 4:46 AM
After the bloodiest day of their campaign, PAD protesters regroup at Government House Tuesday night and are determined to fight on. Anti-government protesters were largely solemn but determined inside Government House Tuesday night, joined by their allies who poured in from other provinces after the most violent day of their months-long campaign. Scenes inside Government House were largely similar to those of other days, reflecting the mostly non-aggressive nature of the campaign and contradicting what happened earlier on Tuesday that left at least two deaths and hundreds of injuries. Key leaders of PAD took the stage between 10.30pm and midnight. They included Somsak Kosaisuk, Somkiat Wongpaiboon and Suriyasai Katasila. Hundreds of protesters from the southern provinces Sonkhla and Ranong gradually arrived at the Government House to the loud cheers of those inside. The new arrivals helped cram the compound and ease fears of ambush by police.
Suriyasai told the crowd that he believed that the government's use of violence would certainly affect Thaksin Shinawatra's request for seeking a refugee status in the United Kingdom. "Britain is a true democracy and they won't just gather information from his (Thaksin) side alone. The (British) embassy certainly did a lot of work today and they have the human rights department and they would know exactly what the puppet government of Thaksin did to the protesters," he said.
Suriyasai added the British government would surely hear the international community's criticism against the Thai government's use of violence. "All international media agree that the government overreacted in dispersing the protesters," he said.
The PAD's current strategy, according to the key leaders, is to hold their two main rally grounds inside the Government House and around the Makkawan Rangsan Bridge. "We've heard a lot of rumours on the possible attack and we think it is more important to station here (inside Government House). We can march to Parliament any time but we do have to stay here because here is the symbol of government," said Suriyasai.
He asked the demonstrators to listen to each unit's leader and stay disciplined.
He said the resignation of Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyuth brings a major change into politics. "Unlike Banharn (Silapaarach) or Sanoh Thienthong, Big Jew (Chavalit) is the man who is not a businessman-turned-politician. He quitted the top army post to enter politics so we must give him some credit." Gen Chavalit's resignation signals the end of government for three reasons, he said. "First, they won't have anyone to handle the problem in the Southern provinces. Secondly, since he is the main person to hold talk for reconciliation, his departure means no more talk between us and the government. Thirdly, there is no link now to Gen Prem Tinlasulanonda if he is meant to be that link."
Suriyasai led the mob to give big hands to Gen Chavalit for "choosing the people's side rather than holding onto power."
He also asked the protesters to keep their eyes on the moves of the Democrat Party. "They are led by new generation of leaders and I think they would come out with something really good in no time. I'd like you all to give big hands to Khun Abhisit Vejjajiva in advance." (Source: The Nation)


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Crisis worsens seriously

Posted by hasekamp on 8 October 2008 at 4:41 AM
Convoys of military trucks last night arrived near Bangkok's Parliament complex in preparation to help police restore law and order following a long day of unrest. Large areas in the vicinity of Parliament yesterday became a battleground for anti-government protesters and police, as Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat mulled various options to restore law and order. The premier, who managed to deliver his policy statement before Parliament amid all the chaos, said he would not yet consider dissolving the House of Representatives or tendering his resignation. General Anupong Paochinda, the powerful Army chief, meanwhile, reiterated that the military would neither use force to quell protesters nor stage another coup. Somchai, however, expressed serious concern over the unrest in which two had already been killed and 381 injured by late in the evening. Speaking after an urgent meeting with Anupong and Supreme Commander General Songkitti Chakkabat, Somchai also expressed confidence that there would not be another coup. Deputy Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, meanwhile, tendered his resignation yesterday, saying that he could no longer take charge of security affairs following the nrest. Earlier, Chavalit had planned to negotiate a peaceful end to the seizure of Government House with leaders of the People's Alliance for Democracy, but Chamlong Srimuang and Chaiwat Sinsuwong, two of the PAD's core leaders, were arrested before the start of negotiations.Asked if the government will consider declaring a stage of emergency, Somchai said there was no plan for such a move as yet. Leaders of the Army, Air Force and Navy yesterday morning held an urgent meeting as riots started ahead of the joint session of Parliament, at which the government was scheduled to deliver its policies before starting its official duties. Later in the day, the protesters turned into an angry mob as police stepped up efforts to clear the way for the premier, MPs and senators to enter the Parliament compound. The violence apparently came from both the police and protesters, with most of the injuries caused by the police's use of tear gas while a number of policemen were also injured as angry protesters used hard objects to stab them. One drove a truck over police, injuring 10 of them.A suspected bomb inside a Jeep Cherokee believed to be owned by a member of the PAD exploded in front of Chart Thai Party headquarters near Parliament, killing one person.The military also dispatched a few hundred soldiers to help the police restore peace and order.The PAD leadership was earlier scheduled to hold a press conference at 6pm, but the plan was cancelled, while thousands of protesters later marched from Parliament back to Government House, which anti-government protesters have occupied since August 26.
The court yesterday denied a request for the release of Chamlong. At press time, PAD members also surrounded the residences of premier Somchai and Pol General Jongruk Juthanont, a deputy police chief, in the Chaeng Wattana area. (Source: The Nation)


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The Bangkok post writes

Posted by hasekamp on 7 October 2008 at 10:32 AM
To complete the picture, here is what the Bangkok Post writes today:
The government won its way into parliament to make its policy statement on the heels of a tear gas attack against protesters early on Tuesday morning - but the demonstrators then locked the MPs and ministers inside the building, and cut off their water and electricity. With minimal debate, Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat rushed through a reading of the policy statement, as required by law. But after a three-hour parliament session, Mr Somchai and government MPs found that the People's Alliance for Democracy - chased off by tear gas just after dawn - returned and sealed all five exits from the parliament compound. Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat fled parliament uncerimoniously - climbing over a fend with his bodyguards to the Vimarnmek Mansion. But security guards of the Royal Household Bureau stopped around a dozen People Power party MPs from following the premier, and announced only Mr Somchai would be allowed to exit via the royal-maintained home.


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Chavalit resigns

Posted by hasekamp on 7 October 2008 at 10:28 AM
Deputy Prime Minister Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh tenders his resignation on Tuesday to take responsibility on police's use of forces and tear gas on anti-government protesters. Gen Chavalit is deputy prime minister in charge of security. Police fired tear gas and used forces to disperse the protesters who blocked and surrounded the Parliament on Tuesday morning. They wanted to block access of Members of Parliament to the Parliament to attend policy debate of Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawats' government. (Source: The Nation)


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Not only teargas?

Posted by hasekamp on 7 October 2008 at 10:27 AM
Vachira Hospital's director Dr Wanchai Charoenchokthavee said the protesters's wounds were not likely to be from tear gas. Wachira Hospital doctors are treating several protesters who were injured after police fired tear gas into the anti-government protesters at the Parliament on Monday morning. Police insisted that they used only tear gas to disperse the protesters who blocked the Parliament so that Members of Parliament from attending Somchai government's policy address on Tuesday. "Judging from wounds of the victims we saw in the operation room, we believed that the wounds did not cause by tear gas," Wanchai said. The doctors said the wounds were caused by powerful explosives which can destroy tissues and bones.
We have apparently watched the wrong tv station, because on the station we watched only smiling people with small wounds were shown. We do not want to defend the use of any other weapons than teargas, however. It would be a serious case if stronger weapons were used. For the moment we have to wait for more proof. (Source for the first part: The Nation)


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PAD smoked out

Posted by hasekamp on 7 October 2008 at 10:21 AM
Thai police fired tear gas at anti-government protesters who block the Parliament on Pichai road on Tuesday morning, seriously injuring at least three. The police raid at 6.20am came to pave the way for members of Parliament who are scheduled to attend Somchai Wongsawat government's policy address there. Thousands of protesters blocked the Parliament on Monday night to block access by lawmakers to the Parliament. Thousands of supporters of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) marched to parliament late Monday , using trucks to try to seal off the building ahead of an address by the new cabinet. Television footage showed police fired the tear gas to the protesters who hid behind barriers on a road near the Parliament compound. Sounds of gunfire were also heard but senior police officials said that only tear gas was being used against the crowd. Channel 3 television station reported that at least three protesters were seriously injured with one of them lost his leg. Police fired 40 to 50 canisters of tear gas against more than 4,000 of the demonstrators who conducted the sit in protest on Uthong Nai road. (Source: The Nation)


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Former Bangkok Governor re-elected

Posted by hasekamp on 6 October 2008 at 8:06 AM
Former Bangkok governor Apirak Kosayodhin of the opposition Democrat Party was re-elected Sunday to another four-year term following the close of the voting stations in the Bangkok governor election, according to exit polls conducted by two public opinion monitoring agencies. Mr. Apirak was ranked first by both the ABAC and the Dusit polls, earning 44 and 52 per cent respectively of all eligible voters who exercised their right to vote at polling booths in Bangkok's 50 districts. Prapat Chongsanguan, who contested under the banner of the People Power Party at the core of the ruling government, placed second as he received nearly 24 per cent in the ABAC poll and 23 per cent in the Dusit poll, in result which indicated the integrity of the measurement process. Mr. Prapat was formerly governor of the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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The day after the arrest

Posted by hasekamp on 6 October 2008 at 8:03 AM
Thailand's Criminal Court is scheduled to rule on Monday whether to grant police permission for further detention of retired Maj-Gen. Chamlong Srimuang, one of the top core leaders of the anti-government People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), for another 12 days, following his arrest Sunday while he was voting in the Bangkok governor's election. Gen. Chamlong greeted PAD supporters who had gathered outside the court to give him moral support but refused to give any comment. Gen. Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, deputy prime minister, said he will continue to push efforts to hold talks with the PAD representatives. He defended the police action in apprehending Gen. Chamlong, saying the PAD leader had already been issued an arrest warrant. He also brushed aside allegations that the government was behind the move. The deputy premier urged all sides not to misconstrue Gen. Chamlong's departure from the Government House compound to vote as his intentionally planning to have himself arrested in order to mobilise mass street protests. Gen. Chavalit asserted that the PAD core leader merely wanted to exercise his rights to vote for Bangkok governor. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Thaksin asks asylum

Posted by hasekamp on 6 October 2008 at 7:59 AM
Ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife, Pojaman, are seeking political asylum in Britain, the UK Home Office confirmed. It is understood that the UK Home Office is considering their request, UK media reported. Both are on the run after being wanted in Thailand on on several corruption-related charges. Thaksin and his wife fled from Bangkok to London after jumping bails. Thai officials issued arrest warrants on them. After fleeing, Thaksin sold his Manchester City Football Club to an Abu Dhabi group for 210 million pounds. (Source: The Nation)


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Taxi drivers want more money

Posted by hasekamp on 5 October 2008 at 9:59 AM
Licensed taxi drivers are demanding a revised fare structure and are defending their strike at Suvarnabhumi airport last Thursday. Drivers working at Suvarnabhumi airport went on strike on Thursday, calling for changes to the new taxi fare structure imposed on June 18 for metered taxis. They said the new metered fare was unfair when making long-distance trips from the airports to provinces other than Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan and Pathum Thani. The Transport Ministry on Friday agreed to let taxi drivers bargain with passengers for inter-provincial trips. But the permission will not be granted permanently until the transport minister signs a regulation excluding long-distance trips from the ministry's taxi fare regulation. The permission will be temporary, as authorities are working out a new fare structure for long-distance trips to the provinces. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Chamlong arrested

Posted by hasekamp on 5 October 2008 at 9:53 AM
Chamlong Srimuang, a key leader of the People's Alliance for Democracy, was arrested this morning at an election booth in Bangkok. Today is election day for a new Bangkok Governor. Police arrested him at 8 am when the polling station opened and he was going to cast his vote. He was allowed to cast his vote. His arrest came after the first of the nine PAD core members, Chaiwat Sinsuwong, was captured on treason charges on Friday. So, still seven on the run...
It was not clear if Chamlong, who is very close to Chaiwat, "intended" to be arrested, according to some PAD observers. Chamlong is the most important PAD leader, alongside media tycoon Sondhi Limthongkul. The previous Samak government charged Chamlong, Chaiwat and the seven other PAD core members of treason after they led seizure of Government House. The PAD has been protesting inside Government House for several weeks, with the key leaders being careful not to leave the compound. Channel 7 reported that other PAD leaders at the Government House were informed of Chamlong's arrest immediately and were preparing to make some moves in retaliation. NBT reported that Chamlong wrote a letter to his supporters at 6:30 am and the letter was read at the rally site at the Government House at 9 am. In the letter, Chamlong said it was the duty of all Thais to repay the gratitude to the motherland by joining the demonstrations to bring about political reform. (Source: The Nation)


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Talk between minister and PAD

Posted by hasekamp on 4 October 2008 at 15:42 PM
Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat said Saturday the arrest of Chaiwat Sinsuwong, a leader of the People's Alliance for Democracy, will not affect the talk between Deputy Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh and the PAD. He said the talk was still going on. Somchai said the arrest of Chaiwat on Friday was a carried out in line with the judicial process which the government could not interfere. (Source: The Nation)


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One PAD leader arrested

Posted by hasekamp on 4 October 2008 at 4:45 AM
Thai police on Friday apprehended Chaiwat Sinsuwong, one of the nine leaders of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), for whom police had issued arrest warrants in late August. Mr. Chaiwat was arrested at his residence in suburban Bangkok and is now being questioned at a border police station in Bangkok's neighboring province of Pathum Thani. Police on August 27 issued arrest warrants for nine of the group's leaders on charges of insurrection, conspiracy, and illegal assembly on the part of more than 10 persons and refusing orders to disperse. The warrants imposed on the nine leaders spelled out serious criminal charges punishable by death or life imprisonment. The charges were filed after the PAD seized the Government House and several ministries and state agencies in a bid to oust the government which it accused of being a proxy of ousted, fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. During the questioning, Mr. Chaiwat denied all charges and police are expected to seek a permission from the court for his detention. Bail is not likely to be granted, said police sources. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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PAD does not know what it wants

Posted by hasekamp on 3 October 2008 at 5:31 AM
The People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) re-iterated again yesterday that the formula for their so-called "New Politics" is not yet fixed and will depend on further input from members attending their seminars. Issues yet to be resolved included the number of members in future parliaments and how they should be selected or elected. PAD co-leaders Chamlong Srimuang and Piphob Thongchai said the government might also consider these matters, especially given that it had called for the drafting of a new Constitution. The next seminar will be on Sunday afternoon at Government House which continues to be occupied by PAD demonstrators. Chamlong was asked by the media whether the PAD would invite a larger section of Thai society to join in such seminars and he said the group had never barred anyone from participating. He said the pro-government Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship (DAAD) can also hold similar discussion groups.
We find it a big shame to occupy government property for long over a month, and having to admit then that you don't know what you want and why you do it. (Source: The Nation)


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Milk returned to China

Posted by hasekamp on 2 October 2008 at 16:25 PM
Dutch Mill, a Thai company that sells Chinese milk products in Thailand, will return the frozen 122 tones of powdered milk imported from China back to the country even though the laboratory result shows positive or negative for melamine contamination, said the president of Dutch Mill Group, Thirayuth Chaisawangwong. The company wanted to protect consumers from deadly chemical substance and boost consumers' confidence in its products, he said. The powdered milk is now kept at ports and warehouses In Thailand. We, at Hasekamp Net, being Dutch are surprised to read for the first time that Chinese milk products are behind the name "Dutch Mill". (Source: The Nation)


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Road to airport blocked

Posted by hasekamp on 2 October 2008 at 16:20 PM
Some 300 taxi drivers blocked roads to Suvarnbhumi Airport on Thursday to protest against the police, who arrested them for not using meters when being hired to go out of Bangkok. The blockage of the roads to arrival and departure lounges which are on the second and fourth floors respectively forced many people both Thais and foreigners to get off their vehicles and walked to the lounges. The taxi drivers claimed they did not have to use meters to go to areas out of Bangkok because rates of fees have been stipulated by land transport regulations. Police said the taxi drivers were angry that they were arrested and fined for not using meters. Rachateva police are negotiating with representatives of the taxi drivers in order to open routes for passengers. Land transport regulations specified rate for taxi to go to areas out of Bangkok or to other provinces. They did not have to use meters. However some taxi drivers reportedly did not follow the regulations and demanded for high fees from passengers particularly foreigners. One of their demands was that they should be allowed to negotiate fees with passengers who wanted to go out of the capital. (Source: The Nation)


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Five provinces may still get flooded

Posted by hasekamp on 1 October 2008 at 12:46 PM
Thailand's Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department reported Wednesday that of all 27 provinces hit by floods this season, five provinces are still dealing with yet-to-recede flooding, while floodwaters in 22 provinces have receded. Department director Anucha Mokkhaves said that the death toll in this year's flooding was recorded at 19, while more than one million people and 150,000 acres of farmland were affected. The current estimate of damages sustained was recorded at Bt260 million, according to the department's statistics. During the high-water period the department dispatched 128 flat-bottomed boats to help evacuate local residents and move their belongings to higher ground. More than 13,250 parcels of relief supplies were distributed to residents and 11 pumps were installed to drain water from flooded areas. Five provinces still under floodwaters are Phisanulok, Lop Buri, Ayutthaya, Khon Kaen and Prachin Buri. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Milk products from China ready to be banned

Posted by hasekamp on 1 October 2008 at 12:42 PM
The Thai Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has confiscated 60 tonnes of milk powder imported by Dutch Mill and will study it for melamine contamination, a top health official said yesterday. Satis Tresatayawed, director of the FDA's Import and Export Inspection Division, said the agency had been informed of the 60tonne import and that it was sending samples of the milk powder to the Medical Science Department for tests. If the powder is found to be contaminated, the FDA will reject the import permit for this shipment. Dutch Mill has had to import milk powder from China for three years now, because drought caused supplies from New Zealand to dry up, Satis said. The move follows reports from China that at least 22 dairy manufacturers were found to be using melamine in their products. More than 54,000 infants and children are suffering from urinary problems caused by the consumption of melamine containted milk, which can potentially cause renal failure. Earlier, the FDA found melamine in the 20 tonnes of milk powder Dutch Mill had imported from China. However, the company's managing director, Thirayuth Chaisawangwong, said they would keep the 20 tonnes in storage until the FDA confirms the product's quality. Besides distributing milk products within Thailand, Dutch Mill also exports to Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam. In a separate random test on 97 milk and milk based products, the FDA yesterday revealed that only 32 items had tested negative, while two contained very low levels of melamine and were therefore safe for consumption. FDA chief Dr Chatree Banchuen explained that the two items only contained 0.38 and 0.55 milligrams of melamine per kilogram respectively, well below the 1mg international safety standard. The 34 products deemed safe are milk powder, pasteurized milk, low fat and skimmed milk, flavored pasteurized milk, yoghurt, wafer, nougat, milk chocolate, candy and ice cream. These products are manufactured or distributed by Dutch Mill, Unilever, Diethelm, Mars Thailand, SinoPacific Trading and an unnamed company located on VibhavadeeRangsit Road. (Source: The Nation)


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