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Abhisit wants to become popular

Posted by hasekamp on 28 February 2011 at 17:29 PM
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is determined to "buy his way back into power" with a new raft of promises, say the Puea Thai Party and other critics. One of Mr Abhisit's promises is to increase the daily minimum wage by 25% as part of a four-point policy package announced yesterday. The announcement immediately met with crtiticism that he is exploiting his party's position in the government to gain an edge over its rivals in the coming election. Samphan Techa-atik, a political lecturer at Khon Kaen University, said the Democrat Party's promises were tantamount to attempting to buy votes from voters. Mr Abhisit must be more careful as this could be in breach of the election law, Mr Samphan said. The prime minister announced his package at a soft launch of his ruling Democrat Party's election campaign yesterday. He promised to increase the daily minimum wage by 25% within two years as he unveiled the package to a group of 200 young people who wanted to work for the party at Chatuchak weekend market. He also pledged to provide education loans for 250,000 university students, issue more community land titles that will benefit 250,000 farmers and to set up a 2,500-strong task force to help suppress drugs. The prime minister said he had initiated several projects during his two years in office to help solve problems of the poor and those on lower incomes. Among them were the registration of motorcycle taxi drivers to provide them with social welfare and the increase in salaries for civil servants that will come into force in April. While Mr Abhisit's announcement was well received by most people at the campaign launch, the opposition strongly criticised his plan. Puea Thai Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit said other political parties that will compete in the poll would not mind the Democrat Party's campaign strategy if it played by the rule. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Support from Unesco?

Posted by hasekamp on 27 February 2011 at 15:23 PM
The Unesco special envoy on the Preah Vihear issue, Koichiro Matsuura, who is also a former Unesco director-general, yesterday met Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya at Government House to hear about the problems between Thailand and Cambodia. Thailand was his first leg before he heads to Cambodia tomorrow. Thani Thongphakdee, Foreign Ministry spokesman, said Mr Matsuura understood that the problems over the Preah Vihear temple stemmed from its listing as a world heritage site given that the border's demarcation was still pending. Mr Matsuura was quoted as saying that he also admitted that in the current situation, it was difficult to move forward with the Preah Vihear management plan proposed by Cambodia. The management plan is scheduled to be placed for WHC consideration at its annual meeting in Bahrain in June. Thailand is trying to explain to Unesco that as long as the border demarcation dispute has not been solved through the Joint Boundary Committee (JBC), the organisation should delay considering the matter. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Abhisit a Briton after all

Posted by hasekamp on 25 February 2011 at 10:35 AM
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva holds dual Thai and British nationality, the opposition has told the parliament as it continues to pressure Mr Abhisit to come clean about his roots. Mr Abhisit was born in Newcastle in 1964 and became a British citizen by virtue of being born there.
He is also Thai as he was born to Thai parents, the Puea Thai Party told parliament yesterday. The British Home Office's UK Border Agency states on its website that anyone born in Britain before Jan 1, 1983, is "almost certainly a British citizen". The only exception is a person born to certain diplomatic staff of foreign missions who had diplomatic immunity. Mr Abhisit can formally renounce his right to British nationality but he has not done this. Mr Abhisit admitted to the House yesterday that he had not renounced his right to hold British nationality, which meant he continued to hold dual British and Thai nationality.
It is the first time he has acknowledged holding dual nationality after the opposition started questioning him about it a month ago. It has accused the prime minister of being deliberately evasive, but Mr Abhisit said it was a matter of law. "I admit I have not given up [my] British nationality because it is understood legally that ... if the nationality laws are conflicting, Thai law must be used," he said. He insisted he had made it clear all along that he intended to hold Thai nationality.
"Now if I travel to England I need to ask for a visa," he said in response to questioning in parliament. "It is clear that I intend to hold Thai citizenship. Whether that means I hold dual citizenship or not, that's a legal issue."
Puea Thai list MP Jatuporn Prompan said Mr Abhisit was a British national under British law. That meant he could be tried in the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity committed when his government engaged in deadly street clashes in Bangkok last year. A charge against Mr Abhisit has been filed with the court by red shirt lawyer Robert Amsterdam. Although Thailand has not ratified the Rome Statute that created the ICC, the red shirts argue that the prime minister could be held to account by the body if he is a citizen of Britain, which is a signatory of the pact. Mr Abhisit said his parents notified the Thai embassy in London of his birth and said he has Thai nationality. He carried a Thai passport. When he studied in Britain as a youngster, he sought a visa to enter the country as a foreign student. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Abhisit: I am not British

Posted by hasekamp on 24 February 2011 at 15:08 PM
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Thursday confirmed his Thai citizenship even though he was born in England, rebutting an opposition lawmaker's allegation for having dual nationality. "I am a Thai with clear intent not to hold British citizenship," he said. Abhisit said he had to apply for entry visa to England just like other Thais and that he did not avail himself of any services such as education reserved for British citizens. The Election Commission had already ruled out his dual nationality, he added. Pheu Thai MP Jatuporn Promphan, speaking from the House floor during the performance debate, alleged the prime minister's dual nationality. (Source: The Nation)


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Abhisit chooses the hard line

Posted by hasekamp on 24 February 2011 at 15:06 PM
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva says Thailand is prepared to strike with full force against Cambodia if it continues to violate Thai sovereignty. Mr Abhisit insisted yesterday that Thailand had the right to act against Cambodia - and he has the staunch backing of the army. There has been speculation about whether Thailand would respond to Cambodian aggression after Indonesia was invited to deploy 15 observers to inspect the two sides of the disputed border area. "There isn't any agreement that leaves us unable to protect our sovereignty," Mr Abhisit said. "If [Cambodia] provokes [future] clashes, we have the right to launch a full retaliatory attack." Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha backed the premier, saying there would be no withdrawal of troops. Thai forces remained in position in the disputed 4.6-square-kilometre border zone. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Deadly elephant ride

Posted by hasekamp on 24 February 2011 at 15:01 PM
An elderly Swiss woman was trampled to death and four other tourists were injured when elephants they were riding fought with each other in southern Thailand, police said Thursday. The 63-year-old woman was thrown to the ground and fatally injured during an elephant trek with friends in the south of the country on Tuesday. "It happened because the elephants quarrelled with each other. One reared up on its feet so the tourists fell to the ground, and it trampled on her," said Pol Lt-Col Apidej Chuaykuar, the officer in charge of the case. He said a total of five tourists, who were staying in the nearby resort of Phuket, were riding two male elephants when the creatures became aggressive. The woman was pronounced dead at a hospital in nearby Surat Thani province that evening. Two more tourists, whose nationalities were not immediately clear, were also believed to have been injured. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Temporary cease-fire

Posted by hasekamp on 20 February 2011 at 17:38 PM
Hun Manet, eldest son of Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen, and Thai Army Chief of Staff General Dapong Rattanasuwan yesterday signed in a temporary cease-fire agreement. Second Army Area commander Lt-General Thawatchai Samutsakorn and 10 other Thai officers crossed Chong Sa-ngam, Si Sa Ket border to meet with Hun Manet, a lieutenant general in the Cambodian army, in a restaurant in Allongweng, a source, who joined the trip but asked not to be named, said. He said both sides agreed to follow the previous agreement and signed an eight-point agreement which includes no mobilisation of troops, no increase in troops or heavy weapons, no confrontation and no construction in disputed areas. The source said the two-hour talk was part of regular meetings. However, the temporary deal is not binding as far as the upcoming Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) ministerial meeting on Tuesday is concerned. (Source: The Nation)


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Ceasefire talks after all

Posted by hasekamp on 19 February 2011 at 11:53 AM
Thai and Cambodian military leaders may launch ceasefire talks amid the current diplomatic stalemate. Negotiations may start this weekend or after Tuesday's meeting of Asean foreign ministers in Indonesia, said 2nd Army commander Thawatchai Samutsakhon yesterday. He is coordinating with Lt Gen Chea Mon, chief of the Cambodian 4th Region Army, about the prospect of talks. The United Nations Security Council has recommended a permanent ceasefire after hearing both sides of the story on Monday following a series of border clashes. It has also called for Asean's engagement in the dispute. On Thursday, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said his government would urge Thailand to agree to a peace deal during the foreign ministers' meeting. He said the agreement should be signed by the Thai and Cambodian foreign ministers and witnessed by Asean. But Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has rejected Cambodia's proposal, saying it was too early to talk about such a move. Mr Abhisit said the two countries must hold talks and that Asean could act only as a facilitator. Asean was not in a position to become involved in such matters of conflict. According to Lt Gen Thawatchai, the planned talks with Lt Gen Chea Mon appear less formal. "We [Thai and Cambodian military] usually talk. This is not the talks. The talks must come from policy," he said. An army source said Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon had talked with his Cambodian counterpart Teah Banh about calling a ceasefire. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Helping lepers

Posted by hasekamp on 18 February 2011 at 19:11 PM
Far from where Samnieng Srichai sat knitting a waistcoat, the 83-year-old woman looked no different from other elderly people. Coming closer to her brought a surprise: her fingers, gnarled by leprosy, knitted fluidly and skilfully. Samnieng suffered from leprosy, or Hansen's disease, about 50 years ago. It made her fingers crooked. She also lost her left leg to the disease. In those days she was unable to work, do housework or even look after herself. Now her life is similar to anyone else's of her age, and she can do everything herself. "Living here, I feel comfortable. I'm content with my life here, where I share the same problems with other leprosy patients and talk to them about our healthcare," Samnieng said. She lives in Traisapawakham village in Chiang Dao district in Chiang Mai province, where hundreds of leprosy patients have undergone treatment and started new lives. Samnieng moved here from Samut Prakan province 50 years ago. (Source: The Nation)


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Another red shirt rally tomorrow

Posted by hasekamp on 18 February 2011 at 19:08 PM
Metropolitan police division 1 commander on Friday afternoon discussed security measures for tomorrow's anti-government rally with red-shirt leaders, reports said. Pol Maj Gen Wichai Sangprapai met with co-leader of the United front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) and Puea Thai list MP Jatuporn Promphan to ensure law and order during the red-shirt rally on Saturday. After the discussion, Pol Maj Gen Wichai said two companies of police will be deployed to maintain peace at Ratchaprasong Intersection. In addition, two companies will be dispatched at the Supreme Court building compound near Sanam Luang and another six companies at the Democracy Monument. He said he had asked Mr Jatuporn to ensure that the red-shirts refrain from attacking the high institution during their rally and to watch out for any possible incitement to violence by the \93third-hand\94. Mr Jatuporn said the mass gathering will start about 1pm on Saturday at the Ratchaprasong intersection. \93After that the red-shirts will march to the Supreme Court to read out letters of complaint from the UDD leaders being detained at Bangkok Remand prison. Then the UDD will move to the Democracy Monument for further political activities,\94 he said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Abhisit prefers war?

Posted by hasekamp on 18 February 2011 at 18:55 PM
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has rejected Cambodia's proposal for the two countries to sign a ceasefire agreement. The prime minister said it was too early to talk about such a move. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen proposed yesterday that Thailand and Cambodia sign a permanent ceasefire deal, witnessed by other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or the Asean chair, when Asean foreign ministers meet in Jakarta next Tuesday. "We were not the ones that started the fight. It is still too soon to talk about signing any agreement," Mr Abhisit said. "Thailand said from the beginning that we were not the first to open fire. We did what other countries would - that is, when we are fired at or attacked first, we fire back. We have the right to protect our sovereignty." Mr Abhisit said the two countries in conflict must hold talks and Asean could act as a facilitator. Asean is not in a position to be involved in the matters to be discussed by Thailand and Cambodia, he said, adding Hun Sen's proposal was still not clear. The United Nations Security Council on Monday called for a permanent ceasefire between Thailand and Cambodia, and asked that they negotiate an end to their dispute. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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There they go again

Posted by hasekamp on 16 February 2011 at 11:58 AM
Sounds of renewed fighting were clearly heard early this morning in the Phu Ma Khua area of Si Sa Ket's Kantharalak district, on the border with Cambodia, reports said on Wednesday. There was continuous gunfire and explosions around 3am. Residents of Phum Sro village fled for their safety. Si Sa Ket governor Somsak Suwansucharit has urged villagers along the border to rush to shelters if they hear gunfire. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Unesco did it

Posted by hasekamp on 12 February 2011 at 13:27 PM
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is calling on Unesco to help defuse the border conflict between Thailand and Cambodia by delisting the Preah Vihear temple as a world heritage site and scrapping a Cambodian management plan for the temple. Mr Abhisit said the two sides had come under pressure because of the listing and the management plan and this was the source of the problem. It was therefore up to Unesco to ease the pressure stemming from the management plan, which is due to be tabled with the Unesco World Heritage Committee in June. "I believe if Unesco manages to defuse tensions, the two sides would agree to hold talks without pressure. The two countries want their people on the border to live peacefully," Mr Abhisit said.
Mr Abhisit responded yesterday to a statement by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen that he did not want to enter into talks with Thailand over the issue and the conflict was a "real war", not an armed clash, by saying Cambodia wanted to intensify the tension because it was under pressure from its management plan for the Preah Vihear temple.
Mr Abhisit stressed Thailand needed to ensure that the facts were presented to the international community. He believed the international community would support bilateral efforts by the two countries to resolve the conflict once the facts were clarified. Mr Abhisit said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Suwit Khunkitti and the head of the Thai-Cambodia Joint Boundary Commission (JBC), Asda Jayanama, would fly to Paris today to explain the border situation to Unesco director-general Irina Bokova. Thailand insists Unesco should not consider the plan until a solution to the border conflict is found. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Ladyboy air hostesses

Posted by hasekamp on 11 February 2011 at 10:32 AM
PC Air, which has yet to take to the skies, selected three "Ladyboys" in its first round of hiring this week to promote equal opportunities for what is dubbed the "third sex" in Thailand. Peter Chan, the new airline's boss, is enthusiastic about his groundbreaking move because of the opportunities it would afford transsexuals. "I think these people can have many careers \96 not just in the entertainment business \96 and many of them have a dream to be an air hostess," he said. "I just made their dream come true. Our society has changed. It's evolution. I'm a pioneer and I'm sure there will be other organisations following my idea." PC Air did not make proof of sexual reassignment a criteria for the job, merely that the applicants possessed the necessary language skills and the potential to provide good service. Many "katoeys" do not undergo sex change operations, either because of the expense or possible medical complications. But they dress as women, often taking birth control pills to reduce facial hair and grow breasts. More than 100 transsexuals applied for the first places. (Source: The Telegraph (UK))


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Rare animals from Bangkok market

Posted by hasekamp on 11 February 2011 at 10:25 AM
Dozens of snakes, boxes of spiders and one of the world's rarest tortoises were among hundreds of live animals found in a man's airport luggage after a shopping spree at a Bangkok market, according to Thai officials. Rivo Cahyono, a 34-year-old from Indonesia, was arrested trying to board a flight from the Thai capital when X-rays showed the creatures stuffed inside three suitcases, said the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation department. Special compartments in the man's bags contained 88 Indian Star tortoises, a protected species, 33 Elongated tortoises and one Ploughshare -- the world's rarest type of tortoise, Wildlife trade group Traffic said. Among the many snakes found were two Boa Constrictors and 34 Ball Pythons, while 18 Baboon Spiders, packed individually in plastic containers, squirrels, lizards and an African Grey Parrot were also discovered. The Thai official who made the arrest said Cahyono told authorities he had bought all the animals from Bangkok's Chatuchak Market. Traffic said the capital's biggest open air market was a "major hub for some of the world's rarest species" and illegal sales continue "every weekend on an open basis" despite complaints to Thai authorities. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Abhisit explains

Posted by hasekamp on 11 February 2011 at 10:15 AM
This is the complete official statement by the Royal Thai Government, in unofficial translation, without any commentby us:

Pursuant to the clashes between Thai and Cambodian troops during 4-7 February 2011, which have resulted in losses of lives and destruction of property on the part of the Thai people, the Royal Thai Government wishes to make the following statement:
1. All of the clashes that took place were not initiated by Thailand. Thailand responded to Cambodia\92s provocation in self-defence while exercising utmost restraint. Its response were aimed only at military targets and confined to the areas of the clashes in an attempt to contain the incidents from escalating.
2. Thailand has neither the intention nor the desire to seize territory of a neighbouring country. Nor does it intend to start a war to invade another country. The duty of the Royal Thai Armed Forces is to defend the country and safeguard Thailand\92s national security.
3. It is regrettable that at this moment Cambodian armed forces have been reinforcing their positions in many areas along the Thai-Cambodian border, increasing tensions along the border unnecessarily. The Royal Thai Government therefore wishes to reaffirm that no action will be taken that may lead to violence, and that we will act with utmost restraint to any provocation. The Royal Thai Armed Forces will undertake its duty to protect Thailand\92s national interest to the best of their ability.
4. Approach for future action:
4.1 The Royal Thai Government will provide protection to the life and property of Thai citizens residing along the border. We will expeditiously provide all necessary assistance to alleviate the plight of those affected by the clashes and restore and rehabilitate affected areas, including by healing the psychological wounds inflicted upon affected Thai citizens and repairing damaged properties and other public utilities.
4.2 The Royal Thai Government will present to the United Nations Security Council on 14 February 2011, an accurate account of recent developments as well as provide information about the state of the overall bilateral relations between Thailand and Cambodia, which have progressed well in political, economic and social aspects, with amicable interactions between the peoples of both countries. It will also emphasize Thailand\92s commitment and efforts to resolve the situation peacefully through dialogue. The Government will inform the public of the afore-mentioned proposals and facts at the earliest opportunity.
4.3 The Royal Thai Government adheres to its international obligations and bilateral agreements with Cambodia. It is determined to resolve the border issue in the area surrounding the Temple of Phra Viharn with Cambodia by peaceful means through the Thai-Cambodian Joint Commission on Demarcation for Land Boundary and on the basis of the 1904 Convention between Siam and France, which stated that the watershed line would be used to demarcate the boundary in that area, as well as the Memorandum of Understanding between the Kingdom of Thailand and the Kingdom of Cambodia on the Survey and Demarcation of Land Boundary of 2000. In this regard, the Royal Thai Government will prevent the border dispute from affecting close relations between Thais and Cambodians, and it will continue to pursue joint development projects to improve the quality of life of both peoples.
4.4 The Royal Thai Government seeks the understanding of both Thai and Cambodian people that the Government and people of Thailand harbour no ill-will towards the people of Cambodia. The Royal Thai Government therefore calls upon the citizens of both countries to exercise patience and restraint in the face of any provocation that could lead to tension and armed clashes between the two countries. (Source: Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs)


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The two warring countries talk in New York

Posted by hasekamp on 10 February 2011 at 16:02 PM
Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya will fly to New York on Monday for a meeting with Cambodian foreign minister Hor Namhong and Indonesian foreign minister and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) chairman Marty Natalegawa. Mr Kasit's secretary Chavanont Intarakomalyasut said the three foreign ministers would then explain the Thai-Cambodian border conflict to the chairman of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). It was expected the meeting would lead to a solution to the problem through bilateral mechanisms, Mr Chavanont said. Mr Natalegawa said Asean would support the two countries in holding talks to solve their problems through bilateral talks.
Mr Chavanont said former ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Assada Chaiyanam will go to France to meet Unesco representatives on Friday. He would explain to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation why Thailand objects to it Inspecting Preah Vihear temple. Foreign Minister Kasit said today he border clashes had demonstrated the strengths of the Thai army. (Can I believe my eyes?). "In the fighting the Thai army fired at Cambodia's military zones, while Cambodian soldiers fired at our villages. "Moreover, there were Cambodian soldiers at Preah Vihear temple, when the two countries had already agreed that they will not deploy their troops to the temple," Mr Kasit said. Cambodia must explain these two issues to the global community, he said. (Is there nothing Thailand has to explain?). He said the government would be ready to clarify the situation if the Cambodian foreign minister still wants the UN to intervene in the border row. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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What a shame!

Posted by hasekamp on 10 February 2011 at 15:52 PM
Three people were killed and 22 others wounded in Thailand during the border fighting between Thai and Cambodian soldiers from Feb 4-6, Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department chief Wiboon Sanguanpong reported on Thursday. The three fatalities were two soldiers and one civilian. Of the 22 wounded, 14 were soldiers and eight civilians. The cross-border shelling destroyed seven houses completely and damaged 28 others. Two buildings at Phum Srol School in tambon Sao Thong Chai of Kantharalak district of Si Sa Ket province were partly damaged, so was the office of the Sao Thong Chai tambon administration organisation (TAO). The artillery shelling from Cambodia also damaged 50 rai of rubber plantations. We wonder if any Thai officials dare to take responsibility for this useless loss of lives and property. (Source: the Bangkok Post)


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War games should be over

Posted by hasekamp on 8 February 2011 at 12:50 PM
Both countries stand to lose badly if the skirmishes at the Thai-Cambodia border escalate into a war. In reality, leaders on both sides should be focusing on making the ceasefire agreement work rather than allowing the fighting to flare again and again just for the sake of winning a tactical "upper hand". The two countries are equally at fault for fuelling tension, because the deployment of troops on both sides has transformed the border area near Preah Vihear Temple into a flashpoint. After several days of artillery bombardment, the risk of war breaking out is increasing by the minute unless the governments can come to their senses and stop unleashing their military might. Having an armed confrontation is a recipe for disaster. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen should separate their armed forces if peace is to ever have a chance of returning. (Source: The Nation)


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Yellows want Abhisit to go too

Posted by hasekamp on 8 February 2011 at 12:46 PM
PAD leaders are now demanding Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva step down and be replaced by someone else who fits their perception of suitability. The yellow-shirt People\92s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) is adamant in its demand for the resignation of Prime Minister Abhisit, claiming he no longer has any legitimacy to govern. The highly nationalist movement wants someone \93who has leadership quality, is honest, courageous, decisive and capable of protecting Thai sovereignty and of solving the corruption problem\94 to replace Mr Abhisit as prime minister. In the face of the government\92s likely decision to invoke the Internal Security Act to deal with street protests, PAD co-leader Chamlong Srimuang announced on Monday that the yellow-shirt protesters would stay put at Ratchadamnoen Avenue and would not re-open the road to traffic, as requested by the police, to ease the growing inconvenience to bus commuters and motorists. He said the protesters would lift the siege at Ratchadamnoen only when Mr Abhisit agreed to step aside, and that the protesters were prepared to be arrested by the police. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Fighting starts once more

Posted by hasekamp on 6 February 2011 at 22:22 PM
Fresh fighting has erupted along the border with Cambodia in Si Sa Ket's Kantharalak district, ending a brief ceasefire. The first shots were fired on Sunday in border areas near tambon Phu Pha Mok in Kantharalak about 1.30pm. The fighting included artillery fire and shots from small firearms and lasted about 15 minutes. No deaths or injuries were reported. A more severe exchange began at 6.30pm and lasted until about 9.40pm, with heavy artillery fire being exchanged between Cambodian and Thai troops centred on Don-aow village in tambon Rung, Kantharalak, near Preah Vihear temple. The Cambodian government said the 11th-century Hindu temple was damaged in the firefight. Several communities on Thai soil were also damaged by artillery shells and at least 12 people were injured, including two civilians. Ambulances were seen rushing in and out of the area to take injured people to hospital. Many residents evacuated Kantharalak, causing traffic congestion in the district. A military unit commander stationed near the disputed area told the Bangkok Post Cambodian soldiers launched rocket-propelled grenades and several artillery rounds at Thai military camps at Don-aow pass and at homes in Don-aow and Phum Saron villages. He also claimed his troops had secured important strategic locations. The two countries agreed to a ceasefire two days ago after border clashes on Friday night and Saturday morning killed one Thai soldier and a Thai civilian. Cambodia said two of its soldiers and one civilian were killed.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has brushed aside calls for intervention by other Asean countries to help resolve the conflict. Mr Abhisit said during his weekly television and radio broadcast yesterday there was no need for other Asean member countries to step in, as suggested by Asean secretary-general Surin Pitsuwan. The prime minister said he was confident the dispute could be resolved through bilateral negotiations. The Thai and Cambodian foreign ministers have met for talks, in line with the framework set by the Thai-Cambodian Joint Boundary Committee. However, he insisted Thailand would not withdraw its troops, as demanded by Cambodia. Thailand must protect its rights to the land, he said. He added that the Thai government would seek the suspension of Preah Vihear temple's listing as a Unesco World Heritage site and would submit a letter to the United Nations Security Council ''clarifying'' the border clashes. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Preah Vihear damaged

Posted by hasekamp on 6 February 2011 at 22:14 PM
Border clashes between Thai and Cambodian troops have damaged 11th-century Preah Vihear temple, the Cambodian government said in a statement on Sunday. "A wing of our Preah Vihear Temple has collapsed as a direct result of the Thai artillery bombardment,'' said a Cambodian military commander in a statement released by the Cambodian government. Violence has erupted on the border for the third day a row, ending a ceasefire agreed after earlier fighting left at least five people dead. Ties between the neighbours have been strained since the temple was granted UN World Heritage status in July 2008. The World Court ruled in 1962 that Preah Vihear itself belonged to Cambodia, although its main entrance lies in Thailand. The 4.6-square-kilometre (1.8-square-mile) area around the temple is claimed by both sides. It looks as if no further war is necessary if both armies keep fighting a little longer, until the rest of Praeh Vihear has collapsed. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Strange death in Phuket

Posted by hasekamp on 5 February 2011 at 13:16 PM
One German tourist is dead and another in hospital following apparent overdoses of the drug methadone \96 taken by injection into the penis. Chalong Police said the tourists, a gay couple in their mid-30s, arrived in Phuket on January 26 as part of a group tour and were staying at a five-star hotel in Karon. One of the pair, admitted to Phuket International Hospital by his partner yesterday, told doctors he had injected the drug into his penis. The partner, whose name is being withheld pending notification of kin, then left the hospital but failed to answer a telephone call later that day. He was later found dead in the hotel room the couple had been sharing. Chalong Police said bloody hypodermic needles found at the scene, injection marks on the penis of the deceased and containers of methadone indicated that the man died of an overdose of the drug. They collected nine containers of the liquid synthetic opiate in total: seven in the compartment beneath the seat of their rented motorbike and two more in the hotel room safe. Methadone is generally prescribed to heroin addicts as a way of allowing them to function normally while attempting to break the habit. The methadone was prescribed to both men by a well-known private hospital and came with the specific instructions that it was to be taken orally twice a day, police said. The hospitalized tourist was moved to Vachira Phuket Hospital last night. Police said he remained in a serious condition. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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PM: We protect sovereignty

Posted by hasekamp on 5 February 2011 at 13:11 PM
The border clash between Thai and Cambodia troops near Phu Ma Khua area of Si Sa Ket yesterday and this morning occurred because Thai soldiers have to protect the country\92s sovereignty, Prime Minister Abhisit Said on Saturday afternoon. Mr Abhisit said this after the meeting of heads of security and foreign affairs agencies held earlier at Government House to discuss the border clash. The meeting was attended by Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya and Natural Resources and Environment Minister Suwit Khunkitti. The prime minister insisted that Thailand has never invaded its neighbour\92s territory as claimed. He called on Thai people to support the armed forces in protecting the country\92s sovereignty. He said the Foreign Ministry will soon issue a statement providing correct information about the military clash at Thai-Cambodian border for the international community, foreign diplomats, the United Nations Organisation and the World Heritage Committee. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Playing war

Posted by hasekamp on 5 February 2011 at 13:07 PM
Thai and Cambodian troop patrols clashed on Friday afternoon on the border near the disputed 4.6 square kilometre area near Preah Vihear, an informed military source said. Details of the clash and whether there were any casualties were not yet available. The incident took place while Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya is in Cambodia for the Joint Commission meeting. This is the second time within a year that politicians (or the army?) in Thailand and / or Cambodia have decided to play a war game around the Preah Vihear Temple. Is this really the way to approach this relatively small problem? Is there really nothing better to do in these countries? (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Another flu alert

Posted by hasekamp on 3 February 2011 at 10:44 AM
Two people died and at least 470 others fell ill with influenza last month, according to the Disease Control Department, which says the situation has become a worry. Department chief Manit Theerathantikanon urged people yesterday to see a doctor immediately if they have flu symptoms such as a high fever that won't go away in two days, coughing, chest pain, and often gasping for breath. The department's Bureau of Epidemiology adjusted its H1N1 influenza watch to be part of its general influenza monitoring for efficiency, he said, after the World Health Organisation (WHO) lowered its level of concern about the H1N1 flu outbreak and did the same. Manit said the flu situation had declined since October last year and the number of people with flu-like symptoms at medical facilities was also stable at 6 per cent, while people with flu virus detected by labs was also stable in the first three weeks of January. But officials should still monitor things closely as January and February was the flu season. (Source: The Nation)


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Bangkok pollution is getting dangerous

Posted by hasekamp on 3 February 2011 at 10:41 AM
The dust particle level in Bangkok has exceeded safety levels and drastic measures are required to tackle the problem and other conditions harmful to people, the Pollution Control Department said on Tuesday. Citing statistics compiled over 13 years dating to 1997, deputy PCD director-general Wijarn Simachaya said dust particles measured in Bangkok smaller than 10 microns had reached an average of 55.3 micrograms, exceeding the safely level of 50mg. The areas of greatest risk to public health were Din Daeng, Chulalongkorn Hospital intersection, the five-tier Lat Phrao junction and Chok Chai 4 area (Soi Lat Phrao 53). Noise levels also exceeded safely levels by an unspecified amount, while toxic fumes from the internal combustion of car engines reached 3.6 mg per cubic metre, well over the safety level of 1.7 mg, Wijarn said. The PCD and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration are jointly working on a four-year project beginning next year to tackle all man-made environmental problems in the capital and large cities. (Source: The Nation)


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PAD leader arrested

Posted by hasekamp on 3 February 2011 at 10:38 AM
A key member of the People's Alliance for Democracy has been arrested on outstanding charges stemming from the movement's seizure in 2008 of Bangkok's two commercial airports. The arrest last night comes as the PAD announced it is planning a major rally on Saturday to try to force the government from office and derail plans to hold a general election on the government's own terms. Former senator Karun Saingam was arrested last night at Suvarnabhum airport as he returned from Cambodia. He had been in Phnom Penh as part of a legal team put together by the Thai Patriots Network to assist seven Thais arrested on Dec 29 for illegal entry to Cambodia.
Maj Gen Chamlong Srimuang, one of the PAD's key leaders, said yesterday the alliance planned to raise the intensity of its anti-government rally near Government House after the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday sentenced Thai Patriots Network coordinator Veera Somkhwamkid to eight years in jail and his secretary Ratree Pipatanapaiboon to six years for spying. Maj Gen Chamlong said the Abhisit government must see to it that the two are brought home within three days. (Source: The bangkok Post)


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Government tries to stop unrest in South

Posted by hasekamp on 3 February 2011 at 10:34 AM
There are signs the government is succeeding in its efforts to quell the southern unrest, but it is not yet satisfied with the overall handling of the situation, says Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. Mr Abhisit told a seminar on the southern unrest yesterday that his government needed to do a lot more to foster peace in the region. The authorities have to work harder to win the public's trust and to solve the problems in the region sustainably. "What is challenging today is to secure the public's trust so that we can gradually move forward," he said. Mr Abhisit said insurgent groups in the lower South had tried to change the fashion of their attacks because they wanted international organisations to intervene in their conflict with the government. His administration is obliged to explain to the world community that the government has offered justice to the people in the region. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Corruption in National Parks

Posted by hasekamp on 1 February 2011 at 17:50 PM
Seven marine national parks for which Phuket is a major gateway for tourists will be investigated for alleged corruption in the collection of admission fees. A team officers to investigate the alleged corruption was selected on Saturday. Sunant Arunnopparat, director-general of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, said an impartial official from the department would be selected as its chairman. “So far, I haven’t issued any order to remove the park wardens who have been the subject of complaints during the past few months. The department needs to investigate the issue carefully,” Mr Sunant said yesterday. The national parks under suspicion include Mu Ko Surin, Mu Ko Similan, Hat NopparatTara, Mu Ko Phi Phi, Mu Ko Tarutao and Ao Phangnga. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Street business restrictions

Posted by hasekamp on 1 February 2011 at 17:46 PM
Street vendors will be allowed to sell goods at 201 sites around Bangkok and the registration of new motorcycle taxis and stands will open in about two weeks, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday.
The Royal Thai Police would boost security at 300 spots prone to crime by improving lighting and landscapes, the premier said after meeting yesterday with related agencies to follow up on progress in regard to street hawkers, motorcycle taxis and people's security. People wishing to work as motorcycle taxi-drivers or to set up a new stand could register from February 15-25, while those already working as motorcycle taxis could confirm their status for entitlement from February 15 to March 15 at the district office near their home or workplace. (Source: The Nation)


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