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Counter-protest

Posted by hasekamp on 30 November 2008 at 11:13 AM
The United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) planned to gather in Sanam Luang until the People's Alliance for the Democracy (PAD) protesters leave Suvarnabhumi airport. According to UDD leader and political talk show host Veera Musikhapong, his group demanded the government together with police and military forces to carry out measures to disperse the protesters at Suvarnabhumi airport as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the country. He said the UDD also opposed the PAD’#39;s plan to use the royal institution as a political tool. The pro-government group will explain to its red-shirted supporters how a silent coup would be staged, he said. Mr Veera said the UDD believed the Constitution Court wanted to finalise the People Power party (PPP) dissolution case by Tuesday without considering other complaints and witnesses, so a new national administration would be set up. He insisted the UDD wanted to protect democracy and the country, not former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, adding that the UDD’#39;s actions would prove its purpose. UDD core member and PPP MP Jatuporn Promphan said the mass gathering in Sanam Luang will be held peacefully and under the constitutional framework. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Tension is rising

Posted by hasekamp on 30 November 2008 at 11:05 AM
Tensions continued to rise in Bangkok as thousands of anti-government protesters occupied the city's two main airports for a sixth day. Police said they were negotiating with the group, as experts warned of soaring economic losses from the blockade. Some 100,000 passengers remain stranded in the Thai capital. Some countries are putting on flights to bring them home. Demonstrators want the government to step down, accusing it of being corrupt and hostile to the monarchy. Fears of clashes between pro- and anti-government groups are growing, after a grenade attack in Bangkok. For the first time since the seizure, the government's own supporters are on the streets of Bangkok for a rally later in the day. So far the two groups have not encountered each other. Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat has authorized police to remove them, but police say that they will not use force. "We are in a negotiation process. We want to avoid any violent confrontation. We will not use weapons," police spokesman Pongsapat Pongcharoen said. On Sunday, police at the domestic airport, Don Mueang, issued a fresh order to protesters to leave the terminal. Similar orders have already been issued and ignored at both occupied airports and, say correspondents, few believe that police have the will to enforce them. (Source: BBC News)


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One million extra unemployed expected

Posted by hasekamp on 29 November 2008 at 11:06 AM
Deputy Prime Minister for economics Olarn Chaipravat said the government may have to pay about one billion baht to about 500,000 stranded Thais and foreigners at Suvarnabhumi airport, or about 2,000 baht per person a day. Because Suvarnabhumi airport was under siege by the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), more unemployment in the tourism sector would arise because the number of tourist arrivals next year would plunge, according to Mr Olarn. The deputy premier said the initial forecast estimated 13.5 million tourists would travel to Thailand in 2009, but the figure would definitely drop due to the current political situation. As a result, about one million people working in hotels, restaurants and other tourism-related businesses could be laid off next year, Mr Olarn said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Fight to the death?

Posted by hasekamp on 28 November 2008 at 16:40 PM
The government indicated on Friday it would try to talk protesters out of the Bangkok airports without using force - but the demonstrators sneered at a request from a senior person to leave and claimed they would "fight to the de.th" against any police attack. Police read an official declaration that protesters must leave Don Mueang, and stationed riot police near Suvarnabhumi. The state of emergency declared by the embattled cabinet of Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat sparked widespread fears that any attempt to use force to clear Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports could spark a bloody confrontation with the anti-government activists. Mr Somchai fired the national police chief Pol Gen Patcharawat Wongsuwanbut - moving him to an inactive post - .and replaced him with the police inspector-general, Pol Maj Gen Prateep Tanprasert. An officer at Don Mueang used a megaphone to tell protesters they had to leave the rally site. Otherwise "law enforcement officers will carry out appropriate and necessary measures to solve the situation". "All of those who violate law will be prosecuted both in criminal and civil cases," he said. Airlines began flying stranded air travelers out from Utapao naval base on Friday. But there are tens of thousands of passengers who have missed flights from the four days of unrest that have badly hit Thailand's tourist industry and Utapao is a Vietnam war-era base with few tourist facilities. Somsak Kosaisuk, a core leader of the People's Alliance for Democracy, told a crowd of yellow-shirted supporters occupying Don Mueang airport: "We are not afraid. We will fight to the death, we will not surrender and we are ready." Top PAD leader Chamlong Srimuang told reporters that "a senior person in the country" had telephoned to ask him to move his protest out of Suvarnabhumi airport because the closure has severely damaged the economy. Maj-Gen Chamlong boasted he had told the senior person that he will halt all rallies - if the prime minister resigns.
And this is the way the PAD reacts on reasonable propositions. In pour opinion (if not known already our readers) the airports should be smoked out, captured and tried in court. Especially their irresponsible leadres with their criminal ideas. (Source The Bangkok Post)


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1200 Germans cancel holiday

Posted by hasekamp on 27 November 2008 at 22:07 PM
Thai Airways International said on Thursday it was canceling all flights from Munich, but would fly on Friday and Saturday from Frankfurt to Utapao, local media in Germany reported. Passengers would be taken by bus to Bangkok. A fully-booked Lufthansa flight was to leave on Thursday night, overfly Bangkok and land in Phuket, the airline said. German package-holiday companies canceled holiday departures on Thursday for 1,200 Germans because Suvarnabhumi international airport remains occupied. The holiday companies, which also canceled outbound trips on Wednesday, were conferring with airlines on how to bring holidaying Germans home on schedule, with both of Bangkok's civilian airports closed. Lufthansa, Thai Airways International and Air Berlin's LTU unit canceled all Bangkok-bound Thursday departures. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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PM will act against occupation of airports

Posted by hasekamp on 27 November 2008 at 22:02 PM
This morning, after Suvarnabhumi airport had been occupied yesterday, Don Muang airport also was occupied by the PAD. The country is now almost completely isolated from the rest of the world by the PAD.The BBC reports:
The Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat has said he will take action to end anti-government protests in Bangkok's two main airports. In a TV address, Mr Somchai said the police would be assisted by some military units in halting the protests. Emergency rule has been declared around the two airports. Thousands of passengers have been left stranded by the protest action, just the latest stand-off in a long-running political struggle gripping Thailand. Protesters from the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) occupied a government complex in the capital for months. At the start of this week said they were embarking on the "final battle" of their campaign to unseat the government, and they have vowed to resist attempts to disable their airport protests.
Under emergency rule, troops may be deployed, groups of more than five civilians are forbidden from forming, subject to immediate arrest, and a media blackout can be enforced. Protesters remain resolute that their show of force will continue. "We will not leave. We will use human shields against the police if they try to disperse us," PAD leader Suriyasai Katasila told Reuters news agency. (Source: BBC News)


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Army wants parliment to be dissolved

Posted by hasekamp on 26 November 2008 at 13:43 PM
The head of Thailand's powerful army has asked the government to dissolve parliament and call new elections. Gen Anupong Paochinda denied the move amounted to a coup, and called on anti-government protesters to withdraw from Bangkok's international airport. But the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) said it would not leave and a government spokesman told Reuters it also rejected the army's proposal. The PAD took over the airport on Tuesday after months of protests. (Source: BBC News)


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Definitely no coup

Posted by hasekamp on 25 November 2008 at 11:19 AM
Reiterating that the military will not stage a coup as it would not resolve the country's political problem, Army chief Gen. Anupong Paochinda said Tuesday the meeting by the military top brass agreed that the military would protect "three pillars" of the country - nation, religion and the royal institution - prevent clashes and to use the country's laws in solving the problem. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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PAD cannot stop protesting

Posted by hasekamp on 25 November 2008 at 11:17 AM
Hundreds of anti-government protesters gathered in front of Supreme Command headquarter on Chang Wattna Road on Tuesday despite knowing that there will not be cabinet meeting there. They were blocked at the entrance gate of the headquarter. Soldiers guarding at there informed the protesters that there was no cabinet meeting but failed to convince them to leave. At first, the army prepared water trucks but later moved out. Soldiers deploying along the entrance were not carrying weapons. There was no leader of the PAD present at the rallying site. (Source: The Nation)


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Thaksin vows to return as PM

Posted by hasekamp on 24 November 2008 at 10:48 AM
Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra lashed out at British authorities for withdrawing his UK visa. While giving a press interview, the ousted premier claimed that the British government did not respect its democratic values when his visa was revoked. Mr Thaksin also vowed to return to Thailand as prime minister again and believes he can restore public confidence in the country. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Temporary Government House

Posted by hasekamp on 24 November 2008 at 10:43 AM
Scores of Bangkok metropolian police officers have converged on the Thai capital's former international airport where the country's mobile government has been officially-based since anti-government protesters took control of the official seat of government in late August. Successful in their bid to force Parliament to suspend consideration of any bills Monday, key leaders of the anti-government People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) declared victory for the first stage of their mass protest, and changed their target to the temporary seat of government, Don Mueang Airport. Evacuating areas adjacent to Parliament to regroup at the PAD's functional headquarters, Thailand's Government House at the request of core leader Somsak Kosaisook, the PAD actvists moved their focus to the government's temporary offices, a functional Government House in dispersion, at Don Mueang Airport.
Scores of police are on standby to prevent a possible break-in by the demonstrators. Government House and its functions are scattered throughout metropolitan Bangkok, and as far away as Peru, with the prime minister being absent from the capital for participate in an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the peruvian capital of Lima. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Joint Parliamant session called off

Posted by hasekamp on 24 November 2008 at 10:40 AM
Key leaders of the anti-government People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) declared victory on Monday after their mass protests at Parliament prompting the cancellation of today's joint session of the House of Representatives and Senate, postponing it indefinitely. PAD core leaders Pipob Thongchai and Somsak Kosaisook said the postponement of the joint parliamentary session was considered an early victory of the protesters after House Speaker Chai Chidchob called off the meeting.
Comment: A victory, to prevent democratically chosen institutions to do their work? What does the PAD understand as democracy, other than ruling the country their own way, without democratic elections?
The protest leaders vowed to take their protest to every venue of the parliamentary meeting until the session ends this Friday. House Speaker Chai Chidchob adjourned Monday's joint session of Parliament before midday after tens of thousands of protesters surrounded the compound. The joint session was aimed to consider drafted international conventions and treaties to be signed at next month's Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Thailand's northern city of Chiang Mai, he said. The protesters claimed that they blocked access to Parliament to obstruct amendments to the Constition from being debated, which they said may be considered during the joint session. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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PAD will protest at Parliament for one month

Posted by hasekamp on 22 November 2008 at 11:45 AM
People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) core leader Chamlong Srimuang on Friday reiterated a renewed schedule for the group's anti-amendment protest for Sunday at Parliament would last 'no longer than one month' nor would it trigger violence as in October's clashes. On October 7 police fired tear gas at demonstrators trying to disrupt Parliament, sparking street clashes that left two people dead and nearly 500 injured. Chamlong said the anti-amendment protesters will not provoke the authorities nor will they be armed during the planned gathering at Parliament where a joint House of Representatives/Senate meeting is scheduled for Monday. Without elaborating, the PAD leader said Sunday's gathering will be the last fight of the PAD protesters, who will remain peacefully and without weapons so that it will not turn into a chaotic or violent situation as widely speculated. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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PM orders arrest of grenade thrower

Posted by hasekamp on 22 November 2008 at 11:42 AM
Thailand's Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat on Saturday ordered his country's police authorities to speed up identifying and arresting those responsible for a pre-dawn attack against anti-government protesters occupying Government House in Bangkok, an incident which wounded eight of them. Despite having been premier for two months, Mr. Somchai has not yet entered his official office because the premises are in the hands of anti-government protesters who would like him to leave office. Mr. Somchai, now attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in the Peruvian capital said he was informed of the grenade attack against the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) at about 2 am Saturday near Government House. Eight PAD security guards were wounded from an M-79 grenade explosion which occurred for the second time within the past two days. On Thursday, one protester died and 24 others wounded. The PAD protesters have said it was carried out by "people in the government, with acknowledgment by senior police officers". Stressing that it is still unnecessary for soldiers to come out of their barracks to control the situation as well as imposing emergency decree, Mr. Somchai said he did not want such a violence and chaos occurred in the country and those who were behind the actions "should cease". (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Call for strike

Posted by hasekamp on 21 November 2008 at 12:56 PM
The State Enterprises Workers' Relations Confederation (SERC) called on Friday for a nationwide strike by employees of all 43 state enterprises next week, in response to what the group alleges to be the government's violent means in dealing with demonstrators. Sawit Kaewwan, secretary-general of SERC, said his group wants to pressure Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat and the government to resign. State enterprise employees throughout the country should rally behind the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), starting on Nov 24 - next Monday, and go on strike indefinitely beginning the next day, until the government steps down.
And there we go again. The criminals of the PAD, who damaged Government House - so far - for 100,000,000 baht during their illegal occupation of the premises, call for a strike, but not in their own name, no, these cowards do this in the name of another organization. We are waiting for the moment when these PAD "leaders" and active followers are tried at ast and get their well-deserved punishment. (Source for the first part: The Bangkok Post)


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Heavy flooding in the south

Posted by hasekamp on 21 November 2008 at 12:48 PM
Five people have died in flash flooding in the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat, according to the provincial response disaster service, with the floods forcing many schools to close and thousands of schoolchildren to stay home. Disaster prevention and mitigation officials report at least Bt210 million in damages in the province, with more than 150,000 residents affected. Almost the entire province has been flooded for several days, while torrential forest runoffs have hit two more districts in Surat Thani. Fifty schools are temporarily closed in Nakhon Si Thammarat. Local residents in the provincial seat moved their most prized--and portable--possessions to higher ground and many government offices have closed in the face of meter-deep floodwaters. About 20 oceanfront fishing community homes in Pak Phanang and Hua Sai districts were struck by waves as large as three meters high. Strong winds and high waves capsized a fishing boat at a pier in Sichon district. In Surat Thani, six districts--Chaiya, Tha Chang, Khirirat Nikhom, Kanchanadit and Donsak--were declared disaster zones due to flash floods. Forest run-off destroyed a number of homes in Wipawadee district, but rescue workers were unable to access them as roadways are submerged or washed away. Khiri Ratthanikhom, Tha Chang, and Chaiya districts were hit by flash flooding Thursday night following flooding in Don Sak and Kanchanadit and many roads in the provincial seat are flooded. Some areas are under three metres of water, but no causalities have been reported. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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King to receive WIPO award

Posted by hasekamp on 19 November 2008 at 15:10 PM
Director-General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Francis Gurry will visit Thailand to present the Global Leaders Award to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej on 1 December 2008. The award presentation is in recognition of His Majesty the King’#39;s remarkable contribution to intellectual property. His Majesty has assigned His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn to represent him in receiving the award. His Majesty is the first recipient of the WIPO Global Leaders Award. The announcement on the award was made on 29 January 2007 at the WIPO Headquarters in Geneva, and His Majesty granted permission for WIPO to present him with the award on December 1 this year. As an inventor and an artist, His Majesty is a strong advocate of intellectual property, owning over 20 patents and 19 trademarks. Many of his inventions have generated concrete benefits for Thai communities, having been put to practical use in a range of rural development projects in Thailand. His Majesty was granted his first patent in 1993 for a system to resolve water shortage problem in the dry season, making him the first member of the royal family to obtain a patent. His Majesty is also a recognized and prolific artist, having created over 1,000 works, including paintings, photos, musical and literary works such as songs and novels. The Department of Intellectual Property, Ministry of Commerce, has granted several patents in the name of His Majesty the King for his inventions, such as Chaipattana aerators, royal rainmaking, and the use of palm oil as a fuel. The WIPO Global Leaders Award, which comprises a citation and a medal honoring the recipient, recognizes leadership and personal engagement in promoting intellectual property at the national, regional and international levels. It also rewards exceptional personal creative and innovative activities and use of the intellectual property system to protect these works. (Source: Public Relations Department)


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Thaksin return announced

Posted by hasekamp on 19 November 2008 at 15:05 PM
Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra will announce his return to Thai politics next month during another mobile TV talk show before his red-shirted supporters at the National Stadium, People Power Party MP Jatuporn Promphan said. Thaksin will challenge his political enemies for an eye-for-an-eye fight because he is no longer going to sit still, he added. "Thaksin will announce on December 14 that he will return to politics to fight and to defend his name. He will no longer stand still. He has decided to come out to fight as he no longer wants to be attacked and cornered any more," Jatuporn said in an exclusive interview with The Nation. "Thaksin will no longer wait to be attacked, he will fight back by all means, particularly with an eye-for-an-eye strategy, from now on. Thaksin now believes that the only way for him to survive and to live is to fight for his name," Jatuporn said. The announcement will be made in the Kwamjing Wannee Sanjon (Mobile Truth Today) to be held in Supachalasai National Stadium on December 14. (Source: The Nation)


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100,000,000 damage in Government House

Posted by hasekamp on 19 November 2008 at 14:59 PM
After nearly three months' illegal occupation of Thailand's Government House by the anti-government People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), initial damage to the site has been estimated at about Bt100 million, according to government spokesman Nutthawut Saikua. He said items damaged or stolen by the PAD supporters after they laid siege to Government House on August 26 were reported to Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat by Nathi Premrasmi, permanent secretary to the Prime Minister's Office. An initial survey at the building housing the prime minister's office was made recently, following permission being given by the core PAD leaders. It was found that doors locked before the intrusion were now broken and open, said Mr. Nutthawut. In addition, important official documents were found scattered around and widespread damaged throughout the premises, and many items of property including computer notebooks, cash and cameras had been missing and presumed stolen. A total of 13 guns and cartridges belonging to police were also missing, Mr. Nutthawut said. "Who will be responsible for the damage?," the prime minister's secretary asked, noting that government officials should make further inspections. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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PM tells PAD to go home

Posted by hasekamp on 17 November 2008 at 15:06 PM
Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat encouraged on Monday that anti-government protesters to leave the Government House. Somchai reiterated that his coalition government is prepared to hold talks with the People's Alliance for Democracy, who have led the protests and occupations of the the Government House for nearly three months. "Don't forget that Government House is a national treasure, and is built from the peoples' taxes. It will take a long time and a lot of money to repair Government House after the protesters leave the premises for the sake of the country," the premier said. Somchai who is appointed as prime minister in September has not yet been able to work in the Government House. His government has to move the office to Don Muang airport. Somchai said that a group of well-intentioned persons is prepared to act as middlemen to negotiate with the PAD, and that he agreed with the idea. He stressed that building reconciliation among the people is his government's policy. He said it needed time" to solve problems. (Source: The Nation)


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Royal cremation was yesterday

Posted by hasekamp on 16 November 2008 at 11:22 AM
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej on Saturday presided over the royal cremation of Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana, his elder sister, at the Sanam Luang ceremonial ground near the Grand Palace. Princess Galyani passed away on January 2 this year at the age of 84 after a long battle with abdominal cancer. The King arrived the spectacular temporary crematorium around 5 pm with Queen Sirikit and members of the royal family. Tens of thousands of Thais clad in black, or black and white gathered around Sanam Luang to pay their last respects to the late princess at a lavish funeral ceremony. Their Majesties the King and Queen placed sandalwood bunches at the royal crematorium and then conduct a ceremonial royal fire placement. There will be eight spots in Sanam Luang where mourners can place their sandalwood bunches to be burned. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has prepared 500,000 paper flowers for mourners wishing to bid their final farewell to the late princess. At 9 pm, their Majesties the King and Queen placed the royal fire in the royal crematorium. About 3,000 people, comprising members of the royal family, the Cabinet, Parliament, Senate, and the diplomatic corps, as well as senior officials and representatives of the private sector, attended this rare historic event at Sanam Luang. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Thaksin and Pojaman divorced

Posted by hasekamp on 16 November 2008 at 11:19 AM
Critics of former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, convicted of dereliction of duty and misusing his position while holding public office, are growing increasingly suspicious over his divorce Friday from his wife Pojaman. A former spokesman of the now-expired Assets Examination Committee (AEC) believes the termination of the marriage of 32 years could help her in reapplying for a British visa. Former AEC spokesman Sak Korsangrung said the divorce could be made for "political gain" and that it could be easier for each side to manage assets independently. After the divorce, Mrs. Pojaman could offer the claim that she has no connection with Thai politics and she could reapply for a visa to Britain, despite the British government's recent move barring the couple. Press reports in Bangkok said Mr. Thaksin, ousted in a September 2006 coup, had divorced his wife at the Thai consulate in Hong Kong. The divorce, if it has actually occurred, would not have any impact on legal cases which involved both of them, Mr. Sak said. Sources close to Mr. Thaksin's family have described the separation of the couple as a "divorce on paper only", suggesting that the action was taken for practical and legal reasons. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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New Government House?

Posted by hasekamp on 14 November 2008 at 11:38 AM
Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat is considering finding a location in Bangkok to build a new Government House, after the current one has been occupied by anti-government supporters since August. Mr Somchai said returning to Government House after the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) residency there may take time. So building a new Government House could be a good solution. The premier also suggested Government House could be turned into a museum. "It is just an idea," he said. "I would have to discuss it with other parties." (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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PAD wants army to work for them

Posted by hasekamp on 14 November 2008 at 11:34 AM
Chaiwat Sinsuwong, a leader of the anti-government People's Alliance for Democracy, yesterday urged the First Army Region to "subdue" the government for abusing its power. "When the government commits treason, it's the duty of the First Army Region, which has jurisdiction over the capital, to enforce martial law. They have the personnel and equipment to solve the problem completely," Chaiwat said. "The Army is considered a state mechanism. But when the government is believed to have committed treason, the Army has to review its role and take action against the government," he said.
As the secretary-general of the People's Assembly of Thailand, Chaiwat submitted his open letter to Lt-General Kanit Sapithak, chief of the First Army, in which he accused the government and coalition MPs of exercising political power in the interest of a single person and themselves, instead of the public. The appeal was not to ask the Army to take sides, but rather for it to perform its constitutional duty, he said. The PAD also said it would arrange activities to observe the funeral of HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana from today to Sunday. There would be no political speeches at the PAD's rally site at Government House, which has been seized by PAD supporters for more than two months, said Pipob Dhongchai, a core PAD leader. Stage activities would focus on the Princess' life and contributions, he said. (Source: The Nation)


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Birdflu is back

Posted by hasekamp on 13 November 2008 at 11:27 AM
Thailand's Public Health Ministry on Thursday declared nine northern provinces under a special watch for the deadly avian influenza after the disease was discovered in two districts in the region recently, a senior ministry official said. Deputy Permanent Secretary for Public Health Dr. Paichai Varachit said the decision to impose the special monitoring of the disease in the nine northern provinces was made at a meeting of ministry officials here early Thursday. As cold weather began in most parts of Thailand, health officials on October 28 detected the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu in a dead fowl in Thung Salium district of Sukhothai province. Also, a number of birds were found dead of unknown causes in Nong Chang district of Uthai Thani province recently. Every hospital in the nine provinces are also instructed to provide treatment speedily to patients suspected to have contracted avian influenza or live in areas where birds died for unknown causes without waiting for laboratory tests, said Dr. Paichit. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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PAD denies bomb connetion

Posted by hasekamp on 12 November 2008 at 13:17 PM
The anti-government People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) protesters denied the two men arrested by police on Sunday with homemade bombs were working as its volunteer guards, claiming that it was instead an attempt to discredit the activist group, PAD core leader Sondhi Limthongkul said Monday.
Police arrested two men Sunday in possession of homemade low-explosive 'ping-pong' bombs and other weapons including hand grenades and handgun ammunition. Police also found PAD guard identification cards, and they said the duo confessed to being volunteer guards for the Peoples' Alliance. Mr Sondhi said that one of the two was formerly a PAD guard but was dismissed by PAD core leader Chamlong Srimuang some time ago because he tended to use violence when on duty. He said the arrest was an attempt to discredit the PAD. One of the arrested men told police that he was hired by another PAD guard, identified only as Nok, to carry the bag from a spot under the Rajawat Bridge to put into a garbage bin in front of the Rajdamnoee Boxing Stadium.
Our comment: )f course they deny! But who has better cards on the table? The PAD with a simple denial or the police with several confessions? (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Free roads for cremation after all

Posted by hasekamp on 11 November 2008 at 14:05 PM
The People’#39;s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) on Tuesday morning removed all tents, stages and road blockades out of its anti-government protesting venues on and Ratchadamnoen Nok Road and Makkhawan Rangsan Bridge to allow the royal funeral procession for Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana to proceed. PAD leaders Chamlong Srimuang and Pibhop Dhongchai said on Tuesday that all the lanes will be cleared from Thursday to Saturday and their supporters will help Bangkok officials clean up the areas. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Bomb treats

Posted by hasekamp on 11 November 2008 at 14:01 PM
Thailand's Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat on Tuesday warned the public in the capital to avoid crowds and public areas such as parks after the weekend according to advice from the metropolitan police that violence and explosions could occur in a number of locations. The police, he said, had warned that bombings could erupt in many places throughout Bangkok after November 16 and the government has been watching after several groups had come out on streets and created chaos recently. Police arrested several people possessing explosives in the past four days, Mr. Somchai said, adding that the public should avoid travelling in areas where troubles could occur. The government is concerned because the royal cremation ceremonies of the late Princess Galyani Vadhana, elder sister of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, will still be underway on November 16, he said. Responding to the reports of the parliamentary investigation into the October 7 violence at Parliament, Mr. Somchai said he still did not know the details. Mr. Somchai said he did not even know who were the probers but the investigation could only be genuine if it can be proven scientifically. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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More weapons with the PAD

Posted by hasekamp on 10 November 2008 at 22:03 PM
Two more persons believed to be guards of the anti-government People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) were arrested yesterday for possessing weapons without permits. The arrests followed Sunday's arrest of two other persons, also believed to be PAD guards, for possessing three hand grenades and other weapons. The first arrest yesterday was at 2am in front of Baan Phitsanulok, near Government House, which is occupied by the PAD. Kiattisak Rakphu, 35, from Chumporn province was acting suspiciously while driving his taxi and was stopped by police. A handgun, a folding knife, steel pipe baton and nine PAD guard IDs were found hidden near his seat. Kiattisak had no permits to carry a gun and knife in a public area. Soon after, another arrest took place around Benjama Bophit Temple near Government House. Kaveeyuth Boonkongklaew, 33, was found to have been illegally carrying weapons in public areas while driving his pickup truck with seven passengers. The weapons included a .38 handgun and bullets. (Source: The Nation)


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PAD guard arrested with bomb

Posted by hasekamp on 10 November 2008 at 21:59 PM
Thai police arrested a guard of the anti-government People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) in possession of homemade bombs Sunday afternoon. Wattana Kitpitaksan was arrested as a passenger on a motorcycle parked at a traffic light at a Dusit area crossroads. Police found 26 homemade bombs, bullets, a knife, and his ID card as a PAD guard in his bag. Motorcycle taxi driver Thanit Khanurai was also detained for questioning. The PAD guard said he was hired by a Mr. Nok for 200 baht to take the bag from near the Rajawat Bridge and to place it outside the Rajadamnoen Boxing Stadium. Police detained him for questioning and charged him with possession of weapons. Wilai Areelak, Mr. Thanit's mother, said her son was not involved with the PAD and that she warned him not to hang out with Mr. Wattana as he often took weapons when he visited Thani at his home. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Foreign investors stay away

Posted by hasekamp on 9 November 2008 at 14:03 PM
Foreign investors are reluctant to invest in the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) due to political uncertainty in Thailand, said Anon Sirisaengthaksin, the chief execitive officer of PTT Exploration
& Production (PTTEP), the exploration arm of Thailand's former petroleum state enterprise. Mr. Anon said he had recently promoted investment in Thailand during sponsored roadshows to Singapore and Dubai. Investors in those countries said would like to invest on the Thai bourse, especially in PTTEP, with a strong record of business and financial performance, the foreign investors remain reluctant because they do not know whether they can repatriate money from Thailand if there is a political change in the kingdom, Mr. Anon said. They are prepared to invest in SET if the political conflict ends although the market is being affected by the global financial meltdown, he said. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Thaksin UK visa revoked

Posted by hasekamp on 9 November 2008 at 14:00 PM
Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat said Saturday it was the right of the British government to revoke the visas of convicted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife Khunying Pojaman. Mr. Somchai, a brother-in-law of Mr. Thaksin, said he preferred not to talk about politics as he and his government wanted to concentrate on improving the livelihood of the Thai people and let concerned government agencies handle economic problems so that the economy could move forward. es had circulated a letter to airlines about the visa revocation. The present location of Mr. Thaksin and his wife are not known to the Thai authorities, but in principle if their visa has been repealed they could no longer stay in UK. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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New war on drugs

Posted by hasekamp on 7 November 2008 at 11:42 AM
Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat yesterday revived the controversial war on drugs, kicking off a 90-day campaign and stirring concerns about a new wave of human rights violations. He played down the deaths of thousands of people in the previous war on drugs by the Thaksin Shinawatra administration, which drew condemnation from around the world - deaths Thai authorities blamed on drug dealers. Delivering an anti-drugs policy to a gathering of about 500 officials at the Army Club, Mr Somchai called on the authorities to exploit all the resources at their disposal to fight drugs. But he said the new round in the fight against illicit substances should focus on prevention rather than suppressive measures, especially drugs awareness among the young. He said what the campaign achieves will not be judged by the number of arrests of drug traffickers. "Drugs abound because there is a demand. We have to reduce the number of buyers. Without buyers, there can be nothing to worry about, even if the drugs are sold for 25 satang," he said. The anti-drugs drive will be evaluated on a monthly basis. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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PAD blocks Royal cremation

Posted by hasekamp on 7 November 2008 at 11:34 AM
Digging in their heels and refusing to budge, determined anti-government protesters of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) said they would not open the Makkhawan Rangsun Bridge on
Bangkok's Ratchadamnern Nok Avenue which His Majesty the King and other royal family members would use to attend the royal cremation of the monarch's sister, the late Princess Galyani Vadhana, citing security of the demonstrators. Pol. Maj-Gen. Panu Kerdlarppol, deputy chief of Bangkok's Metropolitan Police responsible for traffic affairs, said he was informed by PAD representative Samdin Lertbutr that the Peoples' Alliance had decided not to open Makkhawan Bridge for the free flow of traffic because the PAD core leaders feared that the PAD members would be at risk of attack. The anti-government protesters have blocked the roads and set up a stage at Makkhawan Rangsan Bridge for the anti-government rally in May before moving to seize Government House in late August in disapproval of the six-party coalition government led by the People Power Party. Gen. Meanwhile, retired Maj-Gen.Chamlong Srimuang, a PAD core leader, said the People' Alliance could not unblock the road for the traffic even though it had earlier said that they were ready to open way for the traffic for the important ceremony. He said the PAD was forced to block the road as its members were attacked and they were under threat of attack recently. Shame for te rest of their lives on the PAD. May they be arrested and tried soon (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Charges against PAD leaders

Posted by hasekamp on 5 November 2008 at 16:12 PM
Thailand's national police on Wednesday filed three charges against each of the nine leaders of the anti-government People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) coalition, the protest movement which has occupied Government House for more than two months. The three charges filed under the Criminal Code were inciting the public to create insurrection, illegal assembly by over 10 persons, and refusing authorities orders to disperse. The maximum penalty for the first charge, inciting unrest, is seven years imprisonment. Illegal assembly
and refusing to disperse can result in three years jail and a fine of Bt 6,000 or both. The nine Peoples' Alliance leaders are Sondhi Limthongkul, Piphop Thongchai, Somsak Kosaisuk, Somkiat Pongpaibul, Suriyasai Katasila, Amorn Amornratananond, Therdphum Jaidee, retired Maj. Gen. Chamlong Srimuang and Chaiwat Sinsuwong. All nine PAD core leaders were granted bail by the Office of the Attorney General, posted by four senators at Bt100,000 each. The PAD lawyer filed a complaint with the prosecutors charging that his clients had been treated unfairly by police by being given only a short period of time to fight the charges. Their lawyer said in the document that all nine defendants wished to present more witnesses and documents to the prosecutors within 30 days, starting from Wednesday. The prosecutors have set November 18 to consider whether they would either ask for more evidence concerning the case or forward it directly to the court for hearing. Will there finally be some legal action against the PAD leaders, who seem to think that they live under their own legal system? (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Priority for mega-projects

Posted by hasekamp on 4 November 2008 at 12:08 PM
The Government has given priority to three mega-projects that it expects will stimulate the Thai economy. The decision was made at the meeting of the Council of Economic Ministers on October 31, chaired by Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat. The meeting discussed the construction plan of Thailand’#39;s mega-projects in the next three years, from 2009 to 2011, involving a total investment of 1.6 trillion baht. In the face of the current global economic slowdown, the Government deems it necessary to push for three viable projects.
The first project involves mass transit on the construction of three underground routes in Bangkok, known as the Red Line, the Blue Line, and the Purple Line. These routes have already been approved and some progress has been made.The Red Line, Bang Sue-Taling Chan, runs for a distance of 15 kilometers. The Blue Line, Bang Sue-Tha Phra and Hua Lamphong-Bang Khae, is 27 kilometers in length. And the Purple Line, Bang Yai-Bang Sue, is 23 kilometers long.
The second mega-project involves investment in education and public health, aimed at developing human resources and the people’#39;s quality of life. The Ministry of Education has a budget of 22 billion baht, while the Ministry of Public Health has 78.6 billion baht. The meeting shared the view that budget allocations received by the two ministries were not enough for the mega-project. They were told to seek more effective ways to develop education and public health.
The third project calls for energy development, which has already been included in state enterprise plans, involving 33.9 billion baht. Regarding the planting of food and energy crops, the Government has launched mortgage schemes for several varieties of crops. Since oil prices are on the decline, it is also prepared to work out an energy plan to cope with the present oil situation. (Source: Public Relations Department)


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Amending the constitution

Posted by hasekamp on 4 November 2008 at 11:33 AM
Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat said he supported the setting up of a Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) and is prepared to listen to advice from coalition parties to delay the plan for fear of possible clashes with anti-government protesters. The anti-government People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) on Monday evening it might blockade Parliament again if the government decides to move ahead with amending the Constitution. (Reminder: the "D" in PAD stands for democracy). Mr. Somchai said a majority of the coalition parties agreed to the proposed charter amendment that would pave the way to form a Constitution Drafting Assembly with 120 members in order to draft the constitution. However, the voices of the members of coalition parties urging delay the process were expressing their own views but not proposing to revise the plan, said the Prime Minister. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Flooding

Posted by hasekamp on 3 November 2008 at 15:45 PM
Several villages and an elephant corral in Ayutthaya province were inundated Monday as the Lopburi River overflowed. Flooding meanwhile receded in three districts of Chiang Mai province. Heavy flooding had earlier inundated hundreds of houses, rice fields and longan orchards in Chiang Mai's Mae Wang, San Patong and Doi Lor districts. In Ayutthaya province, the Lop Buri River overflowed its banks and inundated an elephant corral and numerous villages. Local residents were warned of more flooding as the water would be drained from the Chao Praya dam in a couple of days. In Prae province, flooding caused 5-metre deep soil erosion at a portion of a reservoir in Wangchin district. Local authorities rushed to the area to repair the damage.
Meanwhile, eight north-bound train services, which were suspended on Sunday as portions of rail track were damaged by flooding, resumed normal operation on Monday after the lines were repaired. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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PAD does not like phone call

Posted by hasekamp on 2 November 2008 at 10:28 AM
The People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) accused former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra of disuniting the society after making a telephone address to 90,000 United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) supporters at Rajamangala National Stadium on Saturday night. Resonding to Mr Thaksin's address, PAD leader Piphob Thongchai said on Sunday that if people, especially those in the grass-root level, believe that the Thai legal system is not impartial, the society would be deeply divided. Mr Piphob said it was inappropriate for the ousted premier to refer to His Majesty the King after announcing that His Majesty's pardon or the people's power can make him return to the country. "Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat should not allow Mr Thaksin to use the state media for making an adress because he is a convicted criminal, and this shows Mr Somchai's lack of leadership," claimed the PAD member.
Is it forbidden to make an uncensored phone call to Thailand? Or is it forbidden to direct the call to a public address system? In the last case the "culprit" is within reach of the Thai judiciary system. We have no comment on the first possibility. But we hope there still is freedom of speech in Thailand. The country is, after all, a member of the UN Convention on Human Rights, in which - among many other freedoms - freedom of speech is secured. We mention this, in case these PAD "intellectuals" are fully ignorant of International law. (Source for the first part: The Bangkok Post)


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Thaksin has called

Posted by hasekamp on 2 November 2008 at 10:13 AM
Thailand's former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has urged his supporters to help bring him home from exile in Britain. He made the plea via telephone to tens of thousands of his followers who had gathered in a stadium in the Thai capital Bangkok. Thaksin fled to Britain in early August following his wife's conviction for tax evasion. He himself was subsequently sentenced in absentia on October 21 to two years in jail for violating corruption laws. Several other corruption cases are outstanding against him. (Source: Yahoo! News)


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PAD wants to negociate if ...

Posted by hasekamp on 1 November 2008 at 14:20 PM
People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) leader Chamlong Srimuang on Saturday said the anti-government group is ready to enter talks with the government if the Privy Council president, Gen Prem Tinsulanonda, decides to be the mediator.
On one hand this gives some hope that the PAD is beginning to see that they don't know what they are trying to accomplish, and that their means are far from democratic. On the other hand it is a sign of heavy over-estimating themselves that they dare to make conditions like this one. (Source for the facts: The Bangkok Post)


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