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Four Thais have Mexican flu

Posted by hasekamp on 31 May 2009 at 17:18 PM
Thailand confirmed on Sunday that a Thai man who just returned from the US had been infected by the new Influenza. He became the fourth Thai infected by the flu that has already hit 53 countries, killing 99. Thai Public Health Minister Witthaya Kaewparadai said the 50-year-old patient arrived Bangkok around midnight of May 25 and was admitted to a Bangkok hospital with slight fever and sore throat. Lab test showed that he was infected by the A-type (H1N1). He and five persons in his family were given oseltamivir for five days to treat the flu, the minister said. He is now recovered and allowed to return home. On Saturday, a 50-year-old woman is confirmed to be infected by the flu. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Thailand wants to keep newborn panda

Posted by hasekamp on 31 May 2009 at 17:11 PM
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has pledged to look for ways to negotiate with China to allow a new-born panda to stay longer in Thailand. He said he will look at the details of the country's 10-year panda loan deal with China first and raise the issue at an appropriate moment. Mr Abhisit will visit China late next month. "I will try to find out where in the deal China can relax regulations. But first, the government will organise activities to celebrate the birth of the baby panda," he said. Under the loan agreement, any panda cub born in Thailand must be returned to China within two years. China lent Lin Hui and her mate Xuang Xuang to Thailand six years ago. On Wednesday, Lin Hui gave birth to her first cub at Chiang Mai zoo after undergoing artificial insemination. This was the first successful artificial insemination of a panda by a Thai veterinarian team. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Private sector should help

Posted by hasekamp on 30 May 2009 at 10:42 AM
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Friday called on the private sector to help restore the economy, saying it had a significant role in developing the Thailand’s economy to ensure sustainable growth. Delivering a keynote speech on “The Economic Stimulus Package: How Businesspersons Can Give Assistance,” he said that Thailand's current economic crisis is different from the crisis of 1997 because it stemmed from external factors, not local financial problems as in in the past. The government had monitored and supervised the crisis and come up with multi-level measures to curb possible impacts and strengthen the economy. He conceded the immediate situation his government is facing now remained unabated. But there are some signs the economic problem began to ease and the unemployment had dropped. Mr. Abhisit said he wanted to seek the private-sector cooperation to help shore up the economic situation because he was informed that some groups of people would attempt to instigate unrest in June. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Large investment for the South

Posted by hasekamp on 29 May 2009 at 17:08 PM
The government will start to implement development projects in the southern border provinces with a budget of more than Bt60 billion in October, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said on Friday. The government is set to put the plan into action in 696 villages from all 2,900 villages in the southern border provinces this year. Local authorities will make the lists of farmers in local communities, where the government budget will be spent to run development campaigns. Mr. Suthep said Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva instructed him to discuss implementing the development project with the agencies concerned. The deputy prime minister on Friday met senior officials from the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) and the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre (SBPAC). The government’s development project is aimed to improve the quality of life of local residents in the violence-plagued provinces. (Sourc: Thai News Agency)


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Medicines far too expensive

Posted by hasekamp on 28 May 2009 at 15:47 PM
Thais buy imported medicines at prices 10 times higher than those paid by Americans, a seminar on drug use was told Thursday. For every Bt100 Thai patients spend on medicinal drugs, Bt55 was for medicine while Bt45 was for loyalty fees and overpricing, Dr Wandee Phokhakul, a senior Public Health Ministry expert said. Given the US' gross domestic product index, ten times that of Thailand, it could be said Thai people in general paid 10 times more for medicines than the rates American people paid each year, the doctor explained. In the US, pharmaceutical firms made profits of 1218 per cent, higher than commercial banks or drink bottlers, because their investments were lower than other businesses - as low as 5 per cent. (Source: The Nation)


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Baby panda born!

Posted by hasekamp on 28 May 2009 at 15:42 PM
Yesterday in Chiang Mai Zoo a baby panda was born, to the surprise of the keepers, by the way. Chinese experts who flew to Thailand on Thursday to examine the day-old panda cub born to Lin Hui at Chiang Mai zoo said the baby is female and is healthy. The public will be allowed to see the baby panda in about one month. Zoological Park Organisation director-general Sophon Damnui held the press conference with Chinese expert Wei Ning, who said the cub has pink skin and suffered no injuries when Lin Hui gave birth to her. The cub was feeding well from its mother's breasts. The first week of its life would be the critical period, he said. Both Lin Hui and the cub must receive special care. Chinese experts will stay in Chiang Mai until the two pandas are healthy and and danger is past. Earlier in the day, Prasertsak Boontrakulpoonthawee, who heads the zoo's panda section, said the zoo had done all it could to care for the pandas. Staff would now like to hear from the experts about what else needs to be done. Zoo staff artificially inseminated seven-year-old Lin Hui on Feb 18 but did not know for sure she was pregnant until she surprised them by giving birth on Wednesday. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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HIV infections to be reduced

Posted by hasekamp on 27 May 2009 at 14:20 PM
Thailand has targeted reducing the number of new HIV infections by half by 2011, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Wednesday. Mr. Abhisit presided over the opening ceremony of the 12th National Seminar on AIDS at Impact Muang Thong Thani exhibition and conference centre in suburban Bangkok. Over 2,500 participants from agencies concerned, the private sector, international bodies, HIV infected patients, and students are attending the three-day event. The seminar is focused on the government’s plan to reduce new infections within the next two years, according to the national action plan to prevent the spread of HIV and solve the problem comprehensively. The spread of HIV was still worrisome with more than 33 million infected people sound the world and about half of them died of this fatal disease, said Abhisit. In Thailand, there were one million infected persons in the past 20 years and about half of whom died and 500,000 people are still living with HIV, he said. The prime minister said he was ready to be the presenter of the campaign to promote the stereotype of a family and loyal man in order to prevent spread of the disease from a husband to a wife. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Thai economy declines

Posted by hasekamp on 25 May 2009 at 14:01 PM
Thailand's gross domestic product (GDP) fell 7.1 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2009, with the consumer spending index falling for the first time since the Asian financial crisis of 1997, a government think tank revealed Monday. The National Economic and Social Developpment Board (NESDB) predicted that GDP will fall 2.5 to 3.5 per cent for all of 2009, should the political situation "stabilise." Thailand's GDP declined 4.2 per cent in the last quarter of 2008 and 7.1 per cent in the first quarter of this year, NESDB secretary-general Ampon Kittiampon said. During the first three months of 2009, the consumer spending index fell 2.6 per cent, the first dip since the Asian financial crisis started in Thailand in 1997. Thailand's GDP fell about 11 per cent in 1998. (Source: The Nation)


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PAD wants toform political party

Posted by hasekamp on 25 May 2009 at 13:58 PM
The People's Alliance for Democracy will need no more than three months to set up a new political party and expects to have at least 10 party-list MPs after the next elections, PAD coordinator Suriyasai Katasila said on Monday. During the three months, the group would settle on a name for the party, its structure, board of executives and branches, Mr Suriyasai said. He said the group has come up with three names for the new political party - Candles of Dharma, PAD and New Politics. Party funding must be unconditional and transparent, he said. The yellow-clad movements outside the parliament will continue even if the party is established. They will help inspect the performance of the PAD's party impartially and objectively. Prime Minister and Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said he did not believe Democrat MPs would want to jump to other political parties, because Democrat members all share the same ideology. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Thaksin has no German passport

Posted by hasekamp on 23 May 2009 at 11:07 AM
The German embassy in Bangkok yesterday denied press reports that fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra held a German passport, among others. "Mr Thaksin Shinawatra does not hold a German passport," spokesman Theodor Proffe said. Several Thai newspapers yesterday published stories quoting Chalerm Yoobamrung as saying the ousted premier held six foreign passports, including ones from Germany and Cambodia. Chalerm, a member of the proThaksin Pheu Thai Party, told local newspapers about Thaksin's many passports after visiting the former prime minister in Dubai. It had previously been rumoured that Thaksin had been granted passports by Nicaragua and Montenegro. Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said yesterday that he believed Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen's statement that Cambodia had not issued a passport to Thaksin. It still looks as if Mr. Thaksin is the most wanted man in Thailand. (Source: The Nation)


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Abhisit believes in his popularity

Posted by hasekamp on 23 May 2009 at 11:00 AM
Prime Minister and Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva declared Saturday that his party would capture at least 240 House seats in the next election. He made the bold announcement when he kicked on the party seminar in Surat Thani under the title of "Confidence in Thailand, Confidence in Democrat". (Source: The Nation)


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Economy is recovering

Posted by hasekamp on 22 May 2009 at 16:13 PM
The Thai economy has already bottomed out and is on the path to recovery given improvements registered in many economic indicators, according to the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI). FTI chairman Santi Vilassakdanont said foreign capital had begun to flow into Thailand, ASEAN, and Asia since investors wanted to invest in markets which they believed would give attractive returns, which he said was a definite sign of returning investor confidence. He said exports in April shrank 26 per cent partly because there were many public holidays last month. Mr. Santi said he believed exports in May and June would outpace those in April. The second half of this year would see the exports grow more than those in the first half. The export situation would be even better in this year’s third and fourth quarters, he said, but noted that the strengthening of the baht was not good news for the export sector. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Interpol after Thaksin?

Posted by hasekamp on 22 May 2009 at 16:09 PM
Thai Police have sought help from the Interpol unit in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in a search for fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who is believed to have been staying in that country. The police move came after Pheu Thai Party MP Chalerm Yoobamrung admitted he had been to Dubai recently to visit Thaksin for three days. Police Maj General Visanu Prasartthong-osot said the latest intelligence report showed Thaksin had not left the UAE, but police were checking if he had left the country under another name. "We believe he is likely still in that country because it is not far from Thailand and he can use it as a base for his close aides to come and see him," he said. Visanu said he had submitted a request to the Attorney General's Foreign Affairs office to seek the extradition of Thaksin, even though Thailand does not have an extradition treaty with the UAE. "We can ask for cooperation from the UAE since we had earlier helped them arrest and dispatch suspects wanted by them."
We can imagine that there are higher priorities for Thailand at the moment, but this sems to be what the government is after. (Source: The Nation)


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Thailand refuses Unesco

Posted by hasekamp on 21 May 2009 at 15:00 PM
Thai Foreign Ministry on Thursday warned UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) that its officials and experts could visit disputed border area near Preah Vihear Temple only with the permission from Thai authority. The warning was conveyed during a meeting between the ministry's Treaties and Legal Affairs director general Virachai Plasai and Unesco's chief of Information and Knowledge Management Unit Clive Wing. The meeting on Thursday came as experts from International Councils on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) entered the area early April but Unesco's Assistant Director General for Culture Francoise Riviere informed Thai embassy in Paris about the mission on April 17. The group of experts landed by a helicopter at the cliff from Cambodia site and entered to the building through the stair channel, according to a press statement issued after the meeting. The group spent two hours there, it said. Virachai said Thursday the ministry has informed the Unesco in March that only the main building of the Preah Vihear temple was inscribed as the Unesco World Heritage site. The wider promontory, cliff and cave are not included so that the Unesco could not pass through these areas without Thai permission. (Source: The Nation)


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H1N1 sceening of passengers

Posted by hasekamp on 20 May 2009 at 14:56 PM
Thailand’s Department of Disease Control is proposing the screening of passengers with flu-like symptom patients on incoming aircraft and stepping up monitoring measures at all international airports, according to Director-General Dr. Somchai Chakrabhand. Health officials wearing protective gear will take the temperatures of air passengers, he said. Cooperation from airlines, airport, and health officials is needed. Such measures have been adopted in some countries like Japan, he added. Public Health spokesperson Suphan Srithamma said that the Ministry of Public Health has 22 cases with flu-like symptoms currently under surveillance, awaiting lab test results. Included in this number is the husband of the German tourist, who died of pneumonia. The World Health Organization has confirmed at least 8,829 human cases of Mexican flu in nearly 40 countries, including 83 known deaths.(Source: Thai News Agency)


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Tourist dies of high fever

Posted by hasekamp on 19 May 2009 at 9:47 AM
A 59-year-old German tourist died on Monday after developing high fever during her visit to Hua Hin with her family, Deputy Permanent Secretary for Health Dr Paijit Warajit said Tuesday. Her body will be sent to Bangkok for post mortem autopsy to know real cause of her death, Paijit said, adding her sample was sent to check whether she died of the Influenza 2009, Paijit said. The result will be known within 24 hours. She was visiting Hua Hin, Phetchburi, with her husband and a child. She was admitted to a Hua Hin hospital on May 18 and died on the same day. (Source: The Nation)


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UDD leader turns himself in

Posted by hasekamp on 18 May 2009 at 17:32 PM
Jatuporn Prompan, a key leader of the anti-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), turned himself in to police on Monday. A warrant for his arrest was issued April 14 citing his leading role in anti-government violence and street protests during Songkran Festival. Mr. Jatuporn, who is also a Puea Thai Party opposition member of parliament, turned himself in to Pol. Maj. Gen. Amnuay Nimmano, deputy chief of the Metropolitan Police Bureau. Mr. Jatuporn was later granted a temporary release and scheduled to report to police next Monday when the House session ends. As a Parliament Member Mr.Jatuporn is entitled to immunity from outright arrest. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Comedy Film Festival

Posted by hasekamp on 18 May 2009 at 17:30 PM
Thailand will hold the World Comedy Film Festival 2009 next month attracting hundreds of film professionals and promoting the country’s film production attributes. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the Federation of National Film Association of Thailand (FNFAT) will co-organise the World Comedy Film Festival 2009 from June 10-16, said Mrs. Chuthaporn Roengronasa, TAT Deputy Governor. The event is to be staged as part of an ongoing public relations campaign to promote Thailand as a country where hospitality and smiles comes naturally, and to boost Thailand's image as a prime location for international film production. The TAT deputy governor said Thailand was honoured to be the first country in South East Asia to host the event under the theme “A day without laughter is a day wasted - Charlie Chaplin let’s laugh”. Well, in these times of political conflicts a bit of comedy certainly will do no harm! (Source: Thai News Agency)


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No amnesty for Thaksin

Posted by hasekamp on 16 May 2009 at 17:49 PM
In case you thought (or hoped) otherwise: Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said his government would consider granting amnesty to banned politicians as part of the reconciliation process, but stressed that Thaksin Shinawatra would not be among them. Mr Abhisit yesterday called on ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra to return home to face corruption charges. "He can expect justice from Thailand. He must accept the consequence of his actions," he said at the Foreign Correspondents' Club (FCC) in Hong Kong. "We are talking about amnesty for what would be political violations. We are not interested in granting amnesty for criminal offenses," he said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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ASEAN summit once more delayed

Posted by hasekamp on 13 May 2009 at 10:53 AM
Thailand decided on Wednesday to delay Asian Summit from June to October, Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya said Wednesday. Kasit was speaking after attending a cabinet meeting. The Asean Summit with dialogue partner countries has earlier been delayed from April to June 12-14 after red shirted protesters stormed into the medial hall of the meeting venue in Pattaya. (Source: The Nation)


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Stop Hurting Thailand campaign

Posted by hasekamp on 12 May 2009 at 14:30 PM
The “Stop Hurting Thailand” campaign, which was kicked off on May 4 in Bangkok, is receiving a positive response and greater support across the country. Representatives of the Thai Journalists Association, King Prajadhipok’s Institute, and other organizations involved in the campaign visited Government House on May 6 to give T-shirts, with the symbol of the campaign to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and members of the Cabinet, seeking their support. Also calling for the stop of use of violence, the campaign has Thailand’s national flag as its symbol. It was initiated by 21 organizations, which, apart from the Thai Journalists’ Association and King Prajadhipok’s Institute, include universities, local administrative organizations, and civic organizations. They have formed a network urging members of society to sign the “People Declaration” to show to conflict groups in Thailand and to show to the world that violence is unacceptable among most Thais. The message they want to get across is that different views are normal in a democratic society, but violence must not be used. Also in a democratic society, people must not violate other people’s rights. Justice must be ensured in Thai society, while the law must be respected with no discrimination. In addition, they call for imbuing Thais with democratic awareness. The campaign network sees the need to encourage all Thais, including the “yellow shirts” and “red shirts,” to join the Stop Hurting Thailand campaign for the peace and happiness of Thai society. (Source: Public Relations Department)


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Ploughing Ceremony: abundant food production

Posted by hasekamp on 12 May 2009 at 14:18 PM
Thailand's traditional soothsayers predicted an abundance of food production in the kingdom during the coming year, and a proper supply of water -- with plentiful rice yields – after divining the signs indicated in the royal ploughing ceremony, marking the beginning of the planting season on Monday. The ceremony was presided over by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, represented His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Permanent Secretary for Agriculture and Cooperatives Charanthada Kannasuta, who served in the Brahman ceremony from ancient India as the Lord of the Plough, was offered three pieces of folded cloth of different lengths and he selected one of medium length. Based on his selection, proper water supply, with plentiful food and rice were predicted. The sacred oxen, Fah and Sai, ate grass and sesame seeds and the Brahmin seers accordingly interpreted the actions as meaning there will be an abundance of food and average water supply in the kingdom of Thailand during the coming year. Mr. Charanthada is serving as the Lord of the Plough for the last time as he will retire at the end of this September.
The royal ploughing ceremony is an ancient Indian Brahmanic rite, in which sacred oxen plough a furrow at the Sanam Luang ceremonial ground. The ceremony has been performed in Thailand since the Sukhothai period, some 700 years ago. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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First two Mexican flu cases

Posted by hasekamp on 12 May 2009 at 14:15 PM
Thailand has confirmed its first two cases of H1N1 flu patients who had travelled to Mexico, according to Minister of Public Health Witthaya Kaewparadai. Thailand is the first Southeast Asian country hit by the virus so far and registered as the 31st country worldwide to be affected, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The lab test results conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US have confirmed the influenza Type A (H1N1) virus in samples from the two Thai flu patients. "Both of them contracted (the disease) from Mexico," said the minister in a media conference in Bangkok. The two have taken a course of anti-viral Oseltamivir and have now fully recovered and returned to their homes. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Tight security for rally

Posted by hasekamp on 10 May 2009 at 12:44 PM
Security measures have been tightened in Don Muang district ahead of a red shirts gathering today. About 450 police have been deployed at Wat Phai Khiew, where members of the protest group, the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, will gather for a meeting, said Pol Maj Gen Saroj Promchareon, chief of the Metropolitan Police Division 2. Three police checkpoints will also be set up in areas around the temple to screen for weapons. About 20,000 UDD supporters are expected at the rally, according to Metropolitan Police chief Pol Lt Gen Vorapong Chiewpreecha. However, Phra Kru Chai Sarnsunthorn, the temple's abbot, came out to dismiss reports that the UDD would gather at the temple itself, saying the rally would actually be carried out about a kilometre away from Wat Phai Khiew. The UDD mentioned the temple's name, but that was probably because the temple was widely known and would serve as a landmark. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Tsunami warning tower in Phuket Town

Posted by hasekamp on 9 May 2009 at 13:12 PM
People enjoying their morning workouts at the Saphan Hin municipal park at 8am on Wednesday were a bit surprised when the Thai National Anthem was played through the tsunami warning tower there for the first time. Apart from rousing nationalist passion, the music also marked the latest testing of the National Disaster Warning Center's (NDWC's) tsunami warning tower there. "Many local people and tourists have expressed concern about the reliability of the warning system. From this test, I am confident that the system is working and can warn the public about any impending emergency," V/Gov Smith said. Other disaster preparedness measures recently undertaken by the province have included training for airlift evacuation of disaster victims, he said. The province will also conduct additional training and evacuation drills later in the year. (Source:The Phuket Gazette)


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More action against pirated goods

Posted by hasekamp on 7 May 2009 at 21:58 PM
The current crackdown on intellectual property violations will continue, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Thursday, echoing the tough stance of Commerce Minister Alongkorn Ponlaboot who vowed earlier in the day to conduct raids on sellers of pirate goods every two days. Vendors clashed violently with ministry officials in Bangkok’s tourist centre of Patpong. There were reports of gunshots being fired into the air to scare off the officials. About 200 vendors and 50 commerce officials were involved in the conflict, which erupted after officials raided sellers’ booths to arrest them for intellectual property violations and confiscated their goods. Officials arrested four sellers and made off with four vans loaded with confiscated counterfeit goods, mostly pirate copies of bags and clothes. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Government wants help with reconciliation

Posted by hasekamp on 7 May 2009 at 21:52 PM
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday made a plea to all provincial governors to help the government bring about national reconciliation and to reduce social strife. During a workshop for more than 1,000 provincial governors and deputies across the country at the Navy's meeting hall, Abhisit said the government alone could not resolve social and political discord. It needed cooperation from provinces to achieve national reconciliation. Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban also urged provincial governors to use ideas from the "Stop Hurting Thailand and Stop Violence" network to launch similar campaigns in order to bring peace to society. The country's security was a worry to many Thais and foreigners alike. Suthep encouraged provincial governors to launch campaigns to educate people about democracy and instil a democratic spirit. Training and campaigns on constitutional monarchy must be organised to restore public faith and confidence in this ruling system. He said if any village or province takes sides, it means the people do not have a basic understanding of democracy. "It is the duty of provincial governors to campaign for democracy, campaign against vote buying and electoral fraud," he said. Provincial governors were also instructed to launch projects that allow the public to exhibit their loyalty to the monarchy. (Source: The Nation)


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Their Majesties preside over Coronation Day

Posted by hasekamp on 5 May 2009 at 18:06 PM
Their Majesties the King and Queen and members of the royal family presided over the coronation celebration at the Grand Palace on Tuesday. Thousands of Thais gathered around the Grand Palace to greet Their Majesties. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva led the cabinet ministers to an audience with Their Majesties. Celebrations and government-sponsored activities are organised in Bangkok from 4pm to midnight. His Majesty the King's investiture was on May 5, 1950. Next year will mark the 60th anniversary of his coronation and grand celebrations are planned. This year's activities are aimed at encouraging national reconciliation. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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PM absent on Coronation Day

Posted by hasekamp on 5 May 2009 at 18:03 PM
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's swift change of plans and decision not to attend the Coronation Day celebration on Tuesday evening was not related to concerns for his safety, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said. Mr Suthep said the timing and the need for a trip to Ratchadamnoen avenue did not fit in with Mr Abhisit's timetable. He insisted Coronation Day was a good day and that no one would dare plan to harm the country on such an auspicious occasion. Mr Suthep said he had visited the venues where activities would be held during the evening. It was fully secure and police and soldiers had been deployed there. The deputy prime minister said the evening's activities were aimed at restoring peace and unity and he expected they would be well-received. He refused to comment on reports that Interior Minister Chavarat Charnvirakul had urged those attending the celebration to return home after it is over because he was concerned they would stay in Bangkok to join the red-shirt protest planned for Wednesday. Mr Suthep said the Coronation Day celebration and the protest were totally separate matters. His Majesty the King was invested on May 5, 1950. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Peace campaign

Posted by hasekamp on 5 May 2009 at 18:00 PM
A nationwide campaign started yesterday to prevent political violence and end conflicts that are harming the country. Representatives from more than 20 organisations, including academics, media workers, politicians and businesspeople, took part in a function held at Bangkok's Lumpini Park yesterday. The participants took a nine-point oath asking all parties involved in the conflict to stop resorting to physical or verbal violence and respect the law as well as other people's rights. They called on feuding parties to find a solution through peaceful means or the country would be destined for doom. Supporters of the "Stop Harming Thailand; Stop Use of Violence" campaign later led a procession down Silom Road, the capital's main business district. Participants distributed stickers and Thai flags to passers-by, asking them to support the campaign and display the stickers and flags at home. The procession down Silom Road ended with the participants singing "Rak Kan Wai Therd" (Let's Love One Another) in front of Bangkok Bank's head office. Similar events were held in other provinces in all regions of the country. The Army also joined in, with the deputy supreme commander ACM Burirat Ratanavanich presiding over a function at the forces' headquarters. The general said Thailand would see sustainable progress and prosperity if unity and peace could be attained. The participants observed three minutes of silence before waving the national flag.(Source: The Nation)


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Military in charge on next ASEAN summit

Posted by hasekamp on 2 May 2009 at 17:54 PM
The military will be fully responsible for security matters at the Asean Summit with Asia-Pacific dialogue partners on the resort island of Phuket next month, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said yesterday. Suthep called a meeting with security agencies at Government House to prepare security measures for the 16 leaders from Asean and its six dialogue partners - Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea - who had to abandon their summit in Pattaya last month after anti-government protesters invaded the meeting venue. The leaders do not want a repeat of the security arrangements in Pattaya, Suthep told reporters after the meeting. Thousands of anti-government protesters stormed into a convention hall of the Royal Cliff Beach Resort Hotel in Pattaya on April 11 when the Asean Summit with dialogue partners was about to begin, forcing Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to call off the meeting. More than 8,000 members of the Army, Navy and police failed to provide adequate safety for the summit. Next time, all security matters for the summit will be under the military, while the police force will merely be a supplement to the soldiers, Suthep said. (Source: The Nation)


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May Day rally

Posted by hasekamp on 1 May 2009 at 12:37 PM
About 1,000 people working in the informal sector and in state enterprises gathered in front of the Government House on National Labour Day Friday, demanding the government provide better welfare for workers. Representatives of labour groups went to meet Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to hand a letter voicing their demands. They said the economic crisis is seriously affecting workers and the government must act to end it and to assist them. They want legislation to improve safety in their workplaces, changes to the structure of the Social Security Office and to make it more transparent and a fund guaranteeing security for workers registered with provident funds as they could be affected by the mismanagement of the funds. They also demanded the government stop the privatisation of state enterprises. Somsak Kosaisuk, a People's Alliance for Democracy leader and chairman of the labour union of the State Railway of Thailand, said the government does not care much about manual labourers and had not done much to help those being laid off because of the economic crisis. He called on workers to join hands in creating a new politics that would offer their representatives a chance to be in the parliament and help shape society. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Abhisit wants reconciliation

Posted by hasekamp on 1 May 2009 at 12:35 PM
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday pledged to resolve animosity between rival groups and foster reconciliation in six to eight months to pave the way for a snap election. "If things proceed as anticipated, then I aim to steer the country out of the present turmoil and bring about normalcy in six to eight months, following which I won't mind dissolving the House," he said. Abhisit warned, however, that he was still concerned about the power struggle, particularly the threat by certain individuals from the red-shirt crowd to perpetrate violence. All parties are obligated to push for reconciliation to pre-empt the fractious politics from degenerating into an armed struggle, he said. Since the government came to power three months ago, it had underestimated the red-shirt protests, he said. The policy of tolerance did not work to keep peace because certain elements within the red-shirt crowd were bent on violence. The so-called peaceful rally became unruly before degenerating into riots. (Source: The Nation)


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