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New Year's countdown

Posted by hasekamp on 31 December 2009 at 16:43 PM
Both Thais and foreigners flocked to join the New Year’#39;s Eve countdown event in downtown Bangkok amid a heavy police presence to prevent an untoward incident. Over 2,000 officials, soldiers, and police officers have provided security at the CentralWorld, the major countdown party in Bangkok, said Pol Maj Gen Wimol Paoin, Deputy Metropolitan Police Chief. City official and police inspected the environs including shrubbery and flower gardens, and utility poles and telephone booths. Phone booths and waste bins were moved from the area to prevent the planting of bombs, while specially-trained sniffer dogs and bomb detectors were used to make certain that no explosive devices had been placed in the area. Plastic panels and barricades were erected to block access to immovable phone booths. Pedestrian bridges and a section of road at CentralWorld between Ratchaprasong and Pratunam intersections were closed from 6pm for security reasons. Officials screen people who enter the countdown party, banning bringing weapons into the event.
Meanwhile, in the southern Thai province of Phuket, Provincial Administration Organisation chairman Paiboon Upatising said provincial and related agencies are holding a ‘Colourful Phuket Countdown 2010’#39; at the year end Thursday evening. The event boasts concerts, art shows and multimedia light, colour and sound performances. A special effects system will be showcased, while 1,000 fireworks will be lit to celebrate the festive season at the provincial seat’#39;s Saphan Hin area through New Year’#39;s Day. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Higher security around New Year

Posted by hasekamp on 29 December 2009 at 22:56 PM
Although security units do not expect violence during the New Year holiday, stringent security measures will still be implemented to ensure peace and order, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said on Tuesday. “quot;Check-points will be set up in various risk areas of Bangkok and its vicinity, especially on the night of Dec 31, the last day of this year,”quot; Mr Suthep said. This might cause some people some inconvenience, but it was necessary for the safety of people celebrating the New Year festival. Mr Suthep was confident that leaders of the United front of Democracy against Dictatorship would not incite any unrest during the festive season because they did not want to lose public support. A special unit of 450 soldiers would be on standby and able to reach the scene of any incident within one hour. Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra said all of the 50 district offices in Bangkok have been instructed to work closely with the city police in ensuring safety in the capital especially on the night of Dec 31. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Tsunami remembrance

Posted by hasekamp on 27 December 2009 at 13:01 PM
The relatives of the Thais and foreign tourists killed when a towering tsunami suddenly struck six Andaman coastal provinces on Boxing Day in 2004 yesterday attended religious rites in remembrance of their lost loved ones. Five years on, 398 tsunami victim bodies still remain unclaimed. In Phuket's Kathu district, relatives and friends of the victims joined a solemn merit-making ceremony at Loma Park in Patong Beach. They gave alms to 26 Buddhist monks, laid wreaths and stood in silent tribute to the deceased. Phuket also hosted an event at 6pm with the lighting of candles and release of flying lanterns. Phuket Governor Wichai Prisangob said the island province, besides conducting tsunami drills, was now equipped with a well-maintained system of disaster warning towers as well as several mobile vehicles to alert the public to any approaching disaster. In nearby Phang Nga, hundreds of people took part in a religious ceremony held at The tsunami monument at 10am in Ban Nam Khem village, which, along with Khao Lak Beach, was the worst hit area. About 50 people including the representatives of 13 ambassadors observed a wreath-laying ceremony at Bang Maruan Cemetery. Colonel Nithi Banthuwong, director of the Police's Victim Identification Centre, or Bang Maruan Morgue, said 28 bodies - 24 Burmese, three Thais and one Nepalese - were identified and stored in an air-conditioned container while waiting to be picked up by relatives, who had been notified. If the next of kin won't pick up the remains within 30 days, he was authorised to have the bodies buried, like the 370 already interred in the cemetery. In Krabi, four religious ceremonies were held on Phi Phi Island as 100 family and friends of the dead laid wreaths for those who perished in the giant waves. (Source: The Nation)


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Saving elephants

Posted by hasekamp on 24 December 2009 at 16:06 PM
The Elephant Reintroduction Foundation gets back to work saving more animals from slavery. You can use the word chang to describe a lot more than an elephant - it can mean anything big or difficult to achieve. Ngarn chang means "an ambitious task", and that's what the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation faces. Its mission is to get the country's roaming, trouble-prone jumbos back into their wild natural habitat, a noble task long supported by Her Majesty the Queen. It didn't look all that difficult when two adult elephants and a juvenile were released into the Lampang woods earlier this month. Arrow, the shirt brand from Thanulux Co, invited the news media and celebrity guests to witness the joyful event at Doi Pha Muang Wildlife Sanctuary. It all seemed like a piece of cake. But the preparations were another story - this was only the culmination of a jumbo-size job. It involved a great deal of coordination between the foundation's staff and patrons, not to mention hefty financial support. "Two years ago we made a commitment to the foundation that we'd release eight elephants, and we've made it," said Arrow director Somphol Chaisiriroj, delighted with his company's involvement in the Chuay Chang Klub Baan project. (Source: The Nation)


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Red-shirts plan rally before 2010

Posted by hasekamp on 24 December 2009 at 16:00 PM
The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) plans protest rallies at many locations in Bangkok before the end of the year, core leader Suporn Attawong said on Thursday. Mr Suporn said the UDD plans to protest at the Foreign Ministry next week because it cannot stand Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya, who constantly attacks ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra. The group also plans to rally at the Constitution Court and the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) office, he said. He said he and UDD leader Arisman Pongruangrong will join the protests. Mr Suporn said he was not worried that police might revoke bail and they would not stop their political movement. Mr Suporn and Mr Arisman are currently on bail. Mr Suporn is accused of leading red-shirts in trespassing on the Interior Ministry and attacking Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's vehicle in April. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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King in good health

Posted by hasekamp on 21 December 2009 at 14:46 PM
His Majesty the King, who has been in hospital since Sept 19 being treated for a lung inflammation, is in good health, Privy Councillor Charnchai Likitjitta said on Monday. Mr Charnchai said he was happy to inform people that His Majesty is healthy because he understands that everyone is concerned for the King's wellbeing. The privy councilor wished all people a happy new year and said he would like the country to move forward peacefully. He also would like to see continued development, especially in education and the economy. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Two foreigners caught

Posted by hasekamp on 20 December 2009 at 15:40 PM
Thai authorities have apprehended two foreign men in the capital and charged them with allegedly possessing heroin, said Somchai Sujjapongse, director-general of the Customs Department. Raza Mahtab, 21, of Pakistan was nabbed early Saturday upon arrival at Suvarnabhumi international airport from Islamabad after customs officials found about 619 grammes of heroin allegedly in his possession, Mr. Somchai said. After interrogation, customs and anti-narcotics officials later arrested a Nigerian man identified as Chinedu Godffery Elota at a Bangkok hotel and charged him with acting as an agent for Mr. Mahtab, he added. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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PM: Only legal means against Thaksin

Posted by hasekamp on 20 December 2009 at 15:37 PM
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Saturday dismissed an opposition claim that an assassination plot had been hatched against Thaksin Shinawatra, insisting that the government would only use legal means to bring him back to serve his two-year jail sentence. In his first comment on the leak of a classified document to the Puea Thai Party from a source at the Foreign Ministry, the prime minister, speaking from Copenhagen, said the government would strictly abide by the law in its efforts to bring back Thaksin. "I have no idea where that document came from. But I can assure you that the government will not take any unlawful steps in seeking his return," he said. Only extradition treaties the government has signed with other countries would be used to try to bring the convicted former prime minister back to serve his time, he said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Pig infected by human

Posted by hasekamp on 17 December 2009 at 16:12 PM
The Public Health Ministry on Thursday reported the first confirmed case of a pig being infected with the A(H1N1) virus, in Saraburi province. Permanent secretary Paichit Varachit said one from a total of 80 pigs had tested positive for the virus. Dr Paichit said the pig was believed to have caught the virus from a student at the pig breeding centre at Kasetsart University's Tapkwan Research Station in Kaeng Khoi district. More than 130 farm workers and local residents have been placed under medical observation for seven days. No one has fallen ill so far, Dr Paichit said. The pig had already recovered from the disease, he added. There was no need for panic and pork was still safe to eat if it was cooked properly, he said. The virus woud die if exposed to a temperature of 56 degrees Celsius or higher for 15 to 30 minutes, he said. Water boils at 100 degrees. Mr Paichit also confirmed that there was no transmission of the virus from pigs to humans. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Extra holiday in April

Posted by hasekamp on 15 December 2009 at 16:49 PM
Deputy government spokesman Phumin Leetheeraprasert said the Cabinet Tuesday approved one additional holiday for the Songkran holidays and the National Mother's Day period. As a result, Songkran would be for six days from April 13-18, and Mother's Day would be for four days from August 12-15. The Cabinet also approved three days off in lieu of the Makha Puja Day on March 1, the Chulalongkorn Day on October 25, and National Father's Day on December 6, he said. (Source: The Nation)


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No relations with Cambodia

Posted by hasekamp on 15 December 2009 at 16:45 PM
The Cambodian government has to meet three conditions before the the Thai government will send its ambassador back to Phnom Penh, government spokesman Panithan Wattanayakorn said on Tuesday. He said the release of pardoned spy Sivarak Chutipong was the first step toward restoring diplomatic relations. However, ambassador Prasas Prasasvinitchai would return to Phnom Penh only if Cambodia rectified its stated opinion about Thailand's justice system, and its politics, and dismissed former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra from the position of economic eo the Cambodian government. "The government may send a first secretary back to the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh back if Cambodia wishes to improve bilateral ties, but I cannot confirm that it would be the same person," the government spokesman said. Last month, Kamrob Palawatwichai, the first secretary of the Thai embassy in Cambodia, was expelled by Cambodia for his involvement in obtaining Thaksin's flight plan. "My son has suffered much already. Please don't hurt him more," Mrs Simarak said. "The person who thinks that this was staged, I believe, can also make up stories well. I agree with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva that everything should end here, but I wonder how would Mr Kamrob feel if he was in prison for just a day," she said. She said she would like to thank Thaksin for his assistance and the people for their support. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Phuket taxi drivers want more

Posted by hasekamp on 14 December 2009 at 12:32 PM
A group of Phuket taxi operators has demanded a ‘fair share’#39; of the tourists transported between a Karon hotel and local tour destinations. The demands follow a complaint from Centara Karon Resort that heated arguments at the hotel between taxi drivers and tour company representatives have scared off tourists and threatened to ‘tarnish Phuket’#39;s image’#39; as a tourist destination. Representatives from Centara Karon Resort handed a letter of complaint to Phuket Vice Governor Smith Palawatvichai last week. The taxi drivers used to make between 2,000 and 3,000 baht a day, but now they only make 200 to 300 baht a day. “quot;We never threaten tourists. We just do what we need to do to survive, but our jobs are being taken away by these tour companies,”quot;. About 400 tuk-tuk taxis operate in the Kata-Karon area. Tour companies should use the local taxi service, as it is a job reserved for locals, just like massage, jet-ski and beach-umbrella operators, according to the representative.
Whoever is to blame here, we do not know. What we do know, is that Phuket taxi drivers are not the easiest people on the island and that there are far too many. When you get out of a taxi there, two or three other taxi drivers run to you to ask you if you want to go on tour with them. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Speeches by His Majesty in print

Posted by hasekamp on 12 December 2009 at 17:43 PM
A total 9,999,999 pieces of documents carrying speehes of His Majesty on his birthday last Saturday will be given away in commemoration of his 82nd birthday, PM's Office Minister Sathit Wongnongtoei said yesterday. The Secretariat of the Cabinet is funding this project and in the process of deciding on types of documents to be produced and distributed. The announcement on the final types of documents will be made next Monday, he added. The formats proposed are creditcard size calendar, car and bus stickers and other documents or booklets. The first lot of the commemorative documents will be distributed at Siriraj Hospital next Tuesday, by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and all Cabinet members who are scheduled to officially sign getwell messages for His Majesty where he is receiving treatments. The documents will carry mainly speeches made by His Majesty calling for unity among Thail people and citing his happiness that would come from peace in Thailand. The messages will also be carried on websites of all government agencies and broadcast on all television channels and radio programmes. (Source: The Nation)


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PM: Government is good

Posted by hasekamp on 12 December 2009 at 17:33 PM
The Democrat-led government has successfully resolved the country’#39;s problems when compared to the past two governments (of People’#39;s Power and Puea Thai parties), Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Saturday. Mr Abhisit was speaking at the people’#39;s assembly held by his Democrat Party at a hotel in Hat Yai of Songkhla province. "Although the country was affected by the impacts of global financial crisis, the government has been able to settle the economic problem and turn economic growth rate to positive figure", the premier said. This has proven that the government can achieve its policy as announced amid the unusual economic and political situation, Mr Abhisit added. He insisted that the government will press ahead with measures to strengthen the Thai economy under its Thai Khem Kaeng (Strong Thailand) stimulus scheme and will not waste time with the ongoing political conflict. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Thai spas the best

Posted by hasekamp on 10 December 2009 at 11:16 AM
Seven Thai spas were awarded World’#39;s Best Spas 2009 in Asia by Travel + Leisure magazine, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). A survey was made by the leading travel magazine regarding impressive spa businesses from regions around the world in 2009. The outcome was the top-ten best spas in Asia were in Thailand. Anantara Koh Samui Resort and Spa topped the rankings, receiving a score of 95.07, while Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai placed second at 94.96. Mandarin Oriental Bangkok ranked the fourth place, Anantara Hua Hin Resort & Spa fifth, and Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai sixth. Seventh place is occupied by Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok, while tenth went to The Peninsula Bangkok with a score of 90.63. One factor that made Thai spas Among the world’#39;s best is the special attention paid to clients when they receive service as well as the uniqueness of Thai spas’#39; techniques, including prices which are reasonable compared to the spa’#39;s quality and services. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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THAI to sue PAD

Posted by hasekamp on 9 December 2009 at 15:14 PM
Thai Airways International filed civil lawsuits against yellow shirted leaders who led anti-Thaksin protesters in the seizures of Bangkok's two airports last year. The national carrier, Thai Airways International, filed a lawsuit with the Civil Court on November 24. The THAI is seeking Bt575 million in compensation from 36 protest leaders who seized Bangkoks airports last year. The leaders of the People's Alliance for Democracy facing the lawsuits included Chamlong Srimuang and media tycoon Sondhi Limthongkul. The Civil Court will hold its first hearing in the case on Feb 22. The protesters seized the Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang International Airports last year, stranding hundreds of passengers as many flights were cancelled. (Source: The Nation)


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Now 189 H1N1 deaths

Posted by hasekamp on 9 December 2009 at 15:07 PM
Two more deaths from Influenza Type A(H1N1) in Thailand were confirmed by the Ministry of Public Health, bringing the total number of fatalities to 189 since April. The Bureau of Epidemiology of the Department of Disease Control, which has closely monitored the flu situation beginning April 28 and continuing until December 9, on Wednesday also reported that cumulative total of A(H1N1) flu patients so far stands at 29,618. Following the meeting about the anti-A(H1N1) flu vaccination process, Dr Manit Teeratantikanont, director general of the Department of Disease Control, said that health officials prepared the vaccination process to standardise the country’#39;s public health system as well as to reduce the number of A(H1N1) deaths. Because of the limited number of vaccine dosages in the country, health workers and high-risk persons are the first groups to be vaccinated. The at-risk groups include women over three-month pregnant, persons weighing over 100 kilogrammes, handicapped persons, and those aged between 6 and 64 with chronic diseases. Dr Manit added that 200,000 doses of the vaccine will be delivered to Thailand in late December while the vaccination for the high-risk groups is scheduled to begin in January. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Birthday speech by His Majesty the King

Posted by hasekamp on 5 December 2009 at 11:57 AM
"The country can have stability, prosperity and peace only if all Thai people perform their duties with sincerity, true intention and honesty, and put the country above self interest", His Majesty the King said in a speech from the throne on Saturday, his 82nd birthday. "My happiness derives from the stability, prosperity and peace of our country," the King told members of the royal family, cabinet ministers, privy councilors, state officials and members of the House of Representatives. His Majesty this morning left Siriraj Hospital for the Amarin Winitchai Throne Hall in the Grand Palace, where he appeared to his subjects. His Hajesty called on all members of the country’#39;s key institutions and the Thai people to perform their duty with sincerity, true intentions and honesty, and to put the benefit of the country above self interest. “quot;Stability, prosperity and peace can occur only when all Thai people know their duty and fulfill their responsibilities,”quot; the King said. His Majesty thanked everyone for their best wishes for his happiness, strength and good health. He blessed all Thai people and wished them happiness. After the King delivered his address he returned by motorcade to Siriraj Hospital.
It was His Majesty's first public appearance outside Siriraj Hospital since he was admitted for treatment for a lung infection on Sept 19. The Crown Prince will grant an audience to members of the diplomatic corps on behalf of the King at the Dusidalai Hall, Dusit Palace, on Dec 8. (Source: Te Bangkok Post)


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Celebrations for His Majesty

Posted by hasekamp on 3 December 2009 at 10:49 AM
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) together with the government and the private sector nationwide will be participating in a series of grand celebrations on the auspicious occasion of His Majesty the King’#39;s 82nd birthday anniversary, December 5, 2009. The Grand Festival of Events to be held nationwide will showcase all the grandeur, pageantry, glorious tradition, and culture of the realm. Visitors are welcome and encouraged to participate in the celebration activities which will be held in three areas: Sanam Luang, the open field and public square in front of the Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha; the surrounding area of Dusit Palace; and Ratchadamnoen Road. The entire area has been grandly illuminated with colourful lights, making it wonderful to walk around after dark. Ratchadamnoen Road alone has been brightened up with 9,999 decorative lights.
The grand celebrations will begin with an opening ceremony on December 3, followed by the candle-lighting ceremony to celebrate His Majesty’#39;s birthday on December 5, and finally, the closing ceremony on December 7. Some events will be held before the "official" celebrations begin. This includes the "Ha Thanwa Maharaj" (or 5 December the Great) Fair, which will be held during December 1-7 along Ratchadamnoen Road. Small stages will be set up along the way to enable various government units to hold different entertainment programmes. On December 1, Brahminical rites will be held to pay homage to the protector God of the country — Phra Siam Devathiraj — as well as to the ancestral kings. On December 2, a parade of 1,000 motorcycles will be held at Sanam Luang in honour of His Majesty. Demonstrations of age-old ceremonies will include ‘Tham Khwan Nak' — the traditional celebration for people entering the monkhood. On December 3, an open-air stage will be set up at Sanam Luang for students from different educational institutions to present numerous performances. At 7 pm a musical show entitled "The Happiness of Thai People under the Shade of His Majesty's Graciousness" will be inaugurated. There will be a parade of illuminated cars every night as well as dancing fountain displays to the accompaniment of royally-composed music at nine spots and on the pedestrian islands along Ratchadamnoen Road. In Bangkok, during December 3-7, an exhibition in honour of HM the King will be held at Jetsadabodin Pavilion on Ratchadamnoen Road. The exhibition will comprise display boards featuring royal activities, multimedia presentations, and light and sound presentations. On December 4, the grand celebrations will begin with the opening ceremony. Princess Ubolratana will preside over the religious chanting by Buddhist monks to bless His Majesty. On December 5, Princess Ubolratana will preside over a food-offering ceremony to 2,583 monks, religious chanting and the mass ordination of 53 monks at Sanam Luang. Day-long celebrations will include Likay native musical drama, Thai folk music, movie shows, sports competition and floral tributes offered by people from all walks of life. At 7 pm Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva will preside over the candle-lighting ceremony offering good wishes to HM the King. The ceremony will be held at Sanam Luang and broadcast live on television and radio nationwide. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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HM the King will appear in public

Posted by hasekamp on 3 December 2009 at 10:45 AM
The Royal Household Bureau announced on Monday that His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej is scheduled to appear in public to mark his 82th birthday on December 5. The statement of the Royal Household Bureau said the monarch will grant a public audience to members of royal family, civil servants and members of parliament at the Grand Palace's Amarin Winitchai Throne Hall Saturday morning. His Majesty the King has designated His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn as his representative to perform religious and royal ceremonies on the occasion of His Majesty's birthday Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. The Crown Prince will grant an audience to members of the diplomatic corps on behalf of the king at the Dusidalai Hall, Dusit Palace on December 8.
The king's birthday eve speech to the Thai public, normally held on December 4 each year at the Dusidalai Hall, will be postponed, according to the Royal Household Bureau. The annual oath-taking ceremony and the parade for the "Trooping of the Colours" of the Royal Guards, earlier scheduled for Wednesday will also be postponed.
The world's longest-reigning monarch was admitted to Siriraj Hospital on September 19 with a lung infection and fever. His condition has improved, according to the Royal Household Bureau, but he remains hospitalised. King Bhumibol made two public appearances since being admitted to hospital. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Boat crash near Pattaya

Posted by hasekamp on 2 December 2009 at 12:01 PM
Two fully-loaded tourist-laden power boats collided off the resort town of Pattaya, 150 km southeast of Bangkok, killing two persons and injuring 14 others. The incident occurred off Bali Hai Pier in South Pattaya's Banglamung district. Two Chinese tourists were confirmed dead, while 14 injured were taken to a local hospital by the rescue team. According to the initial investigation, fully loaded speedboats owned by the New Friend Company and S. Taweechok, carrying tourists from China, South Korea and Russia, were heading to Ko Lan, an important tourist destination island near Pattaya, when they collided at high speed. Both speedboats quickly sank into the sea. Sixteen passengers were on New Friend's speedboat, while the number of tourists in the other boat has not been determined. Rescuers are searching for missing persons. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Red-shirt rally now on December 10

Posted by hasekamp on 2 December 2009 at 11:57 AM
The red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) will stage a mass anti-government rally on Dec 10, red-shirt leaders announced on Wednesday. UDD core members Veera Musikhapong, Jatuporn Promphan and Nattawut Saikua said the rally was set for Constitution Day, next Wednesday, because the group wanted to show its support for democracy. There would be discussions on political issues and problems caused by the 2007 constitution. Former Supreme Court judge Udom Mangmeedee and former charter drafting assembly member Kanin Boonsuwan would be among the academics who would be present. Mr Nattawut said the gathering would be peaceful, run from noon to midnight, and demonstrators would not split up and move to other areas. "If the government decides to impose the Internal Security Act for the rally, the UDD will not be responsible for any violence which may occur," he said. Red-shirt leaders nationwide would meet on Dec 9 to determine a timetable for future mass demonstrations, he said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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