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Thai court for German case?

Posted by hasekamp on 31 July 2011 at 16:00 PM
The Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) yesterday challenged the German construction firm Walter Bau to bring the investment conflict case over Don Muang Tollway to a Thai court to enforce the compensation awarded by an international arbitration tribunal. "If they really want compensation, they should bring the case to a Thai court. There is so much Thai government property here," said Attorney-General Julasing Wasantasing. "The arbitration tribunal awarded the company two years ago, why haven't they brought the case to a Thai court for enforcement? Why ask the German court to enforce the case and seize the royal plane?" he asked. The investment conflict has turned into a war of words between Thai and German officials since German insolvency officials seized a Boeing 737 used by HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn while it was parked at Munich Airport in southern Germany this month. The move was aimed at forcing the Thai government to pay compensation owed to the company. The German regional court of Landshut decided last week that the plane could be released only after the Thai government paid a $20-million (Bt850.8 million) deposit, but the Thai government refused. The OAG will file a lawsuit against Germany for unfair seizure of the plane, Julasing said, but declined to disclose whom he would sue, on what grounds, when or where. "If they are still bothering us, we have to do something to pay them back," he said. (Source: The Nation)


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Thai language skills

Posted by hasekamp on 29 July 2011 at 11:17 AM
So it is possible after all: US Ambassador to Thailand Kristie Kenney was Friday awarded one of 17 foreigners with outstanding Thai-language skill of the year. She received the reward from outgoing Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjjajiva as a ceremony held to mark the Thai Language Day at the Cultural Centre of Thailand. (Source: The Nation)


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Royal bathing rites

Posted by hasekamp on 29 July 2011 at 11:14 AM
Their Majesties the King and Queen yesterday performed royal bathing rites for Her Royal Highness Princess Bejraratana at the Piman Rathaya Throne Hall inside the Grand Palace. HRH Princess Bejraratana, the only child of King Vajiravudh, Rama VI, and Queen Suvadhana, passed away on Wednesday afternoon at Siriraj Hospital aged 85. Members of the royal family attended the ceremony while the public performed bathing rites before the portrait of the princess at the Sala Sahathai Samakhom. The King has declared a 100-day mourning period for members of the royal family and palace officials. The princess's body will be kept at the Dusit Maha Prasart Throne Hall at the Grand Palace during the mourning period. The government has also declared a 15-day mourning period for HRH Princess Bejraratana, with flags to be lowered to half-mast. The PM's Office has asked government and state enterprise officials to wear black during the mourning period which begins today. Government agencies and educational institutes across the country have also been told to fly their flags at half-mast for 15 days, also starting from today. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Weather warning

Posted by hasekamp on 29 July 2011 at 11:10 AM
The Meteorological Department on Friday morning issued a warning for people in the North, Northeast, western part of Central Plains, East and western part of the South to prepare for widespread scattered rain with heavy falls in some areas and the danger of floods from July 30 to August 2. The department said the strong southwest monsoon prevailing over the Andaman Sea, Thailand and the Gulf of Thailand would cause widespread scattered rain and heavy falls in the above mentioned areas. People living near hillsides and waterways should prepare for heavy rain and flash flooding. There will also be strong wind-generated 2 to 4-metre-high waves in the Andaman Sea. All shipping should proceed with caution and small boats should keep ashore during this period, it warned. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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No fear for second plane seizure

Posted by hasekamp on 26 July 2011 at 9:26 AM
Outgoing Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday that there was no ground for a German insolvency administrator to impound a second jet used by HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn. Abhisit was responding to a report on Sunday by German tabloid Bild am Sonntag, which quoted insolvency administrator Werner Schneider as saying he was considering impounding a second jet used by the Crown Prince. "We are considering further steps, including seizing the Prince's second plane," the paper quoted Schneider as saying. Bild am Sonntag said HRH the Crown Prince had the second plane flown to Munich to replace the first one. Attorney-General Chulasingh Vasantasing said he had already explained through a lawyer to the German insolvency administrator that the second jet was the Crown Prince's personal property and had nothing to do with the government. "As far as we know the plane has not been impounded," Chulasingh said.
German insolvency officials seized a Boeing 737 used by the Crown Prince while it was parked at Munich Airport in southern Germany on July 12. The move was aimed at forcing the Thai government to repay a debt in a commercial dispute dating back more than two decades between Thailand and a now-insolvent German construction firm that was building a road link to Bangkok's Don Mueang airport. A German court ruled last week that the jet could be released upon payment of a 20-million (Bt855.14 million) deposit. The Thai government refused to do so, arguing that the jet was the personal property of the Crown Prince and not the government. (Source: The Nation)


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Skywalk: waste of money

Posted by hasekamp on 26 July 2011 at 9:21 AM
A lobby group has voiced opposition to construction of the Skywalk - the walkways below the Skytrain - by Bangkok officials, claiming it is a waste of money. Anti-Global Warming Association head Srisuwan Chanya said yesterday a public forum on the project wouldn't be well rounded, as in the past the city had only surveyed people who wanted to use pedestrian paths. His group had surveyed residents near the construction site and affected street vendors and initial results suggested many disagreed with the project. It would ask city executives to review the plan or it would file an Administrative Court suit. Bangkok deputy governor Theerachon Manomaipibul said the city would host a public forum with academics, stakeholders, professional groups and those opposed to the Skywalk to give details to help decide whether to go ahead with the project, and prepare moves to tackle risks. The city would put public opinion boxes at easy-to-access places along the Skywalk route and improve the city website so people can answer questions covering key topics and not aimed at specific answers. He said the data would be collected properly and assessed truthfully. The Skywalk was so useful to the public, one was recently opened for use at Ramathibodi Hospital, he said. (Source: The Nation)


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Yingluck: Judge me when I have started

Posted by hasekamp on 25 July 2011 at 10:09 AM
Pheu Thai prime ministerial candidate Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday reminded critics not to judge her leadership before the inauguration of her government. "Instead of making colourful comments, just you wait and see my Cabinet first," she said, dismissing criticism that she was about to lead a "family" Cabinet. Last week, opposition MP Chuwit Kamolvisit sounded the alarm that the allocation of Cabinet seats was being dominated by Yingluck's brother Thaksin Shinawatra, another brother Payap Shinawatra and sister Yaowapha Wongsawat.
Yingluck countered that she was determined to line up her ministers with the aim of forming a capable team to serve the people. She said the filling of ministerial portfolios would be vetted and approved by the Pheu Thai executive board, denying the involvement of Thaksin and other relatives in the Shinawatra clan. She urged critics to stop speculating on the Cabinet line-up, arguing she should have a chance to form and explain her government before being criticised. (Source: The Nation)


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Three heliocopters crashed within a week

Posted by hasekamp on 25 July 2011 at 10:04 AM
A third helicopter crashed near the Thai-Burmese border yesterday killing three people on board, forcing the army to ground its Bell 212 helicopter fleet. The Bell 212 transport helicopter crashed in the morning while on its way to pick up the bodies of the nine victims in the Black Hawk helicopter crash on Tuesday. The Black Hawk crashed in a Burmese forest opposite the Kaeng Krachan National Park during an operation to retrieve the bodies of five soldiers who had died in an earlier air crash involving a Huey helicopter. The Bell helicopter caught fire on impact, killing first pilot Maj Theerawat Kaewkamol, second pilot Lt Burana Wanjai, and first mechanic SM 1 Wichian Janpat. Second mechanic Sgt Pattanaporn Tonchan also on board was seriously injured. Royal Thai Army Aviation commander Maj Gen Pitaya Krajangwong said after the incident that he had ordered all of the army's approximately 20 Bell helicopters grounded. A thorough check would be conducted to assess whether they are safe to take off again, he added. The army has ruled out bad weather as the cause of the accident.
On Saturday, the Bell helicopter took part in transporting the remains of the first two victims of the Black Hawk crash from Phetchaburi to the 9th Infantry Division in Kanchaburi. After leaving Kanchanaburi, the Bell helicopter returned to Bangkok before heading back to Phetchaburi to pick up more corpses yesterday morning. But it went down in Ban Nong Ket, about 12km from the office of the Kaeng Krachan National Park or about 50km from the Black Hawk crash site. Chanthip Saengsom, 42, a resort worker who witnessed the Bell helicopter crash, said she and three other workers were mowing a lawn when they heard the helicopter approach. A few seconds after they looked up to see the aircraft, it was plunging to the ground, Mrs Chanthip said.
Army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha insisted that the third helicopter crash had nothing to do with poor weather conditions which are thought to have brought down the first two helicopters. He said the Bell 212 helicopter that crashed yesterday morning had been well maintained over the past 19 years that it had been in use and the pilots and crew on board it yesterday morning was a new team that replaced the one that flew the Black Hawk crash victims to Kanchanaburi the previous day. Since the helicopters did not have a black box or a cockpit voice recorder, a formal investigation to figure out the cause of the crashes could be done by simply inspecting the debris of the choppers, he said. The prime minister echoed the army's assertion that the third incident was not caused by bad weather. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Crown Prince: Do not pay for plane

Posted by hasekamp on 23 July 2011 at 15:22 PM
His Royal Highness Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn has expressed concern over Thai people's feelings in the wake of the seizure of his private Boeing 737 by the German authorities and asked the Thai government not to pay a deposit demanded in order to retrieve the aircraft, AttorneyGeneral Julasing Wasantasing said yesterday. He assured that documents sent to German authorities would prove the prince's private ownership of the aircraft - a key legal condition that would make the seizure of the Boeing 737400 at Munich Airport illegitimate. "His Royal Highness has acknowledged Thai people's feelings towards the issue, and would like Thai people to understand that he has not committed any violations relating to navigational or bilateral regulations [involving his regular flights between Thailand and Germany]," he said. The documents contained a list of explanations about insignia and other marks on the aircraft that signified the prince's private ownership of it, although the Boeing 737400 was purchased by the Royal Thai Air Force. Registration details in international records also show the prince owns the aircraft privately, he added. Julasing said His Royal Highness had even suggested that Thailand should not make the ค20 million deposit demanded by the German authorities in exchange for the revocation of its seizure of the aircraft. "But the Thai government will, if necessary, pay the money to secure immediate retrieval of the aircraft," he added. Thai authorities and the Foreign Ministry have so far concluded that no money should be paid to the German authorities but a court session and subsequent trials will soon work through the dispute. The first court session should take place by late next month. Countersuits against Walter Bau, which forced the seizure through a German court order, and its representative Werner Schneider, are being contemplated by the Office of the AttorneyGeneral. (Source: The Nation)


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Yingluck starts on Friday

Posted by hasekamp on 20 July 2011 at 22:58 PM
Pheu Thai prime ministerial candidate Yingluck Shinawatra plans on Friday to report for duty as MP following her Tuesday's balloting endorsement, party spokesman Prompong Nopparit said on Wednesday. Yingluck is expected to personally receive her endorsement at the Election Commission before proceeding to fill her party-list seat at Parliament. Prompong said the 24th House of Representative should convene its inaugural session on August 2. He also indicated that the Cabinet would be unveiled by mid-August. (Source: The Nation)


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Bt 846 m for the plane

Posted by hasekamp on 20 July 2011 at 22:55 PM
A German court has ordered the release of the plane, impounded jet upon receipt of a hefty bank guarantee, ending an awkward episode that threatened to upset ties. The Boeing 737 was seized at Munich airport in southern Germany last Tuesday in a long-running commercial dispute between Thailand and a now-insolvent German construction firm. But a court in nearby Landshut said it had received an assurance under oath from the Thai Department of Civil Aviation's director that the plane belonged to the Crown Prince, not the Thai state, as well as a 2007 registration certificate. The vice-president of the court, Christoph Fellner, said however that since these documents provided only a "presumption of ownership", 20 million euros (846 million baht) had to be deposited via a bank guarantee. "No guarantee means no take-off," he said. "If everything goes well for the prince and we establish that the aircraft really belongs to him, then he will get his bank guarantee back." The guarantee was set at that level because that was estimated to be the value of the plane, the court said. The seizure of the aircraft prompted a visit by caretaker Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya last Friday to Berlin. He called the incident a "huge mistake" and met a German Foreign Ministry official to press for the plane's release. "If this takes too long it might affect the feelings of the Thai people towards German people and the country because this is related to the monarchy," Mr Kasit had warned, saying the dispute had "nothing to do" with the royal family. Foreign Ministry spokesman Jesda Katavetin and permanent secretary for transport Supoj Saplom Wednesday said Thai authorities were studying the German court's ruling. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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ICJ decides in favor of Cambodia

Posted by hasekamp on 19 July 2011 at 10:11 AM
Not surprisingly - given the history of the case so far - the Internati0onal Court of Justice in The Hague (Netherlands decided as follows: (...) THE COURT, (A) Unanimously, Rejects the Kingdom of Thailand's request to remove the case introduced by the Kingdom of Cambodia on 28 April 2011 from the General List of the Court; (B) Indicates the following provisional measures: (1) (...) Both Parties shall immediately withdraw their military personnel currently present in the provisional demilitarized zone, as defined in paragraph 62 of the present Order, and refrain from any military presence within that zone and from any armed activity directed at that zone; (...) (2) (...) Thailand shall not obstruct Cambodia's free access to the Temple of Preah Vihear or Cambodia's provision of fresh supplies to its non-military personnel in the Temple; (...) (3) (...) Both Parties shall continue the co-operation which they have entered into within ASEAN and, in particular, allow the observers appointed by that organization to have access to the provisional demilitarized zone; (...) (4) (...) Both Parties shall refrain from any action which might aggravate or extend the dispute before the Court or make it more difficult to resolve; (C) (...) Decides that each Party shall inform the Court as to its compliance with the above provisional measures; (...) (D) (...) Decides that, until the Court has rendered its judgment on the request for interpretation, it shall remain seised of the matters which form the subject of this Order. (...)
The complete judgment can be read in The Nation of Tuesday July 19.


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Fear for dengue fever outbreak

Posted by hasekamp on 19 July 2011 at 9:59 AM
The Public Health Ministry has warned of a dengue-fever outbreak after reports that 20,000 people have been stricken during the past six months, 13 of them fatally. Elderly people and children aged under one year are most at risk of dengue-fever infection, the ministry's permanent secretary Dr Paijit Warachit warned yesterday. "People who have a high fever, fatigue or stomach-ache, or vomit or cannot eat, should seek treatment," Paijit said. The continuing seasonal rainfall this year has increased the number of mosquitoes carrying the virus that causes dengue haemorrhagic fever. Children below one year and elderly sufferers from chronic ailments - such as diabetes and high blood pressure - may develop severe symptoms after infection but are often unable to tell others of their illness. According to Public Health Ministry records, from January to June, 23,324 people were infected with the dengue virus. Of this number, 13 succumbed to the disease. The record also showed that 52 per cent of the total number of dengue cases were aged between 10 and 24 years. About 650 cases were children aged under one year, and 190 cases were aged over 65. (Source: The Nation)


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Plane decision not before wednesday

Posted by hasekamp on 19 July 2011 at 9:55 AM
The fate of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn's aeroplane, held at Munich airport over a payments row, will be known Wednesday at the earliest. "I have given both sides the opportunity to deliver an opinion by [Tuesday]," said Christoph Fellner, vice-president of the Landshut district court hearing the case. "Nothing will happen before Wednesday." Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya travelled Monday from The Hague to Munich to support the Thai authorities in their attempt to convince the German court to release the Boeing 737-400, which has been impounded since July 12. Werner Schneider, insolvency administrator for German building firm Walter Bau AG, sought the court's order to have the plane seized and banned from flying in order to force a US$42 million (1.26 billion baht) payment from Thailand's government. The debt goes back more than 20 years to when Walter Bau was part of a joint venture to construct a 26-kilometre toll road to Don Mueang airport, which was then Thailand's main international airport. A row followed over the tolls to be levied, leading the German construction company to claim contractual obligations were not being met. After years of negotiations, an international tribunal in Geneva awarded Walter Bau $42 million in compensation, but the Thai government opposed the verdict. On July 11, a German court ordered the plane's seizure after Walter Bau said the jet was Thai government property. The German government said it had repeatedly asked Thailand to pay the bill. The court turned down an application on Friday for an urgent injunction to release the plane. Mr Kasit visited Berlin to complain in person, but - of course - received no concrete assurances from the German Foreign Ministry, who told him the case was in the hands of the independent judicial system. Bangkok insists the jet is the crown prince's private property, not the government's, and so cannot be seized as part of any legal action against the state. "The key issue is, is the complainant the owner [of the plane] or not?" said Mr Fellner, adding, "The question of ownership is not settled by German, but by Thai law." Mr Kasit said Monday Thailand has presented additional documents requested by the court to back up its request for the lifting of the impounding. He also said that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva had written to his German counterpart Angela Merkel to push for the release.
In our opinion such an action (to try to speed up or to influence a case that is ijn the hands of a court of law) is not according to international standards. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Plane proceedings go on

Posted by hasekamp on 18 July 2011 at 9:58 AM
Thailand will table more documents in a German court to prove ownership of the impounded Boeing 737, to show it does not belong to the government, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday. The Office of General Attorney wil submit additional documents today following the court's request for more evidence to prove ownership of the aircraft, the ministry's deputy spokesman Jesda Katavetin said. Judge Christoph Fellner said earlier the court was not fully convinced the plane was HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn's personal property, as asserted by the lawyer for Thailand. The Royal Thai Air Force said earlier it presented the jet aircraft to HRH the Crown Prince in 2007 for his personal use. Jesda said the court would spend one or two days to consider the new set of documents and evidence submitted by the Thai authorities before ruling on an injunction on the plane. The Boeing, frequently piloted by HRH the Crown Prince, was impounded at Munich Airport last week due to an investment conflict between the Thai government and German construction firm Walter Bau. (Source: The Nation)


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High hopes on Temple case

Posted by hasekamp on 18 July 2011 at 9:55 AM
Thailand will find out this afternoon whether it will be ordered to withdraw its troops from around Preah Vihear temple, as demanded by Cambodia in the International Court of Justice. The ICJ will hold a public hearing at the Peace Palace in The Hague at 3pm Thailand time, during which the president of the court, Judge Hisashi Owada, will read its deliberations on the issue. The verdict will be based on the decision of the majority of its 15 judges.
Outgoing Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya is heading the Thai legal team at the hearing, while the Cambodian team will be led by Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong. Mr Kasit said the Thai team felt excited ahead of the decision and the members were hopeful that the hearing would be favourable to Thailand, as it has prepared for many years to fight the case.
One can hardly take this opinion of Mr.Kasit serious. Cards lie much more favourable for Cambodia.
"Although I am not a lawyer, I believe our arguments are reasonable under legal principles and cover all issues raised in Cambodia's request," Mr Kasit said. "I hope our arguments will be reasonable enough for the 15 judges." (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Illegal tourist facilities

Posted by hasekamp on 17 July 2011 at 15:46 PM
Forestry officials will go ahead with their plan to bring charges against those involved in encroaching on forest reserve areas around Nakhon Ratchasima province's Wang Nam Kheow district, saying they will not negotiate with the wrongdoers. "People who encroached on forest reserve areas first must be punished. Then the forestry agency will look into each case to determine whether they had intended to encroach on the reserve areas or not," forestry department chief Suwit Rattanamanee said. The forestry agency last week found that about 20 luxury hotels and houses in Wang Nam Kheow had claimed land from forest reserve areas to build tourist facilities. The forestry department is now investigating by using satellite images whether these houses are located in forest reserve areas or not. (Source: The Nation)


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Thai plane seized in Germany since Tuesday

Posted by hasekamp on 16 July 2011 at 18:39 PM
A German court has begun hearings on the Thai government's request for the release of a plane in which HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn's flew, which was impounded at Munich airport by German liquidators since Tuesday. Thai officials expected the court would make a decision Friday. German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said Friday that the German government could offer no comment on the affair "because we respect the independence of the judicial authorities" who are now responsible for the case. But Germany's Foreign Ministry has expressed regret to the Crown Prince over the matter, British newspaper The Telegraph reported Friday. "We regret the inconveniences for the Crown Prince resulting from the impounding. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva Friday said the government expected the court would rule in favour of Thailand as the aircraft seizure occurred out of a mistaken belief that the plane belonged to the Thai government.
The plane seizure was ordered by the German court on Monday after a request from Werner Schneider, the insolvency administrator for German builder Walter Bau AG, to force a 30 million euro (1.26 billion baht) payment from Thailand. The action was based on a decision in 2009 of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law for Thailand to pay Walter Bau more than 30 million euros for breaching a bilateral investment treaty between Germany and Thailand. The UN court found that the Thai government breached the terms of a toll road concession operated by a venture partly owned by Walter Bau. Mr Schneider said the seizure followed repeated refusals by the Thai government to pay money it owes the company. Mr Abhisit said the Office of the Attorney-General is in the process of appealing to the Southern District Court of New York, which last year ruled in favour of Walter Bau and ordered Thailand to pay compensation to the firm. Mr Abhisit said the government will submit the appeal on July 29. "Asset seizure is not necessary at all because in the end, Thailand would have to follow the court's final ruling. If the court orders us to pay [the compensation], we have to pay," Mr Abhisit said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Female bodyguards for Yingluck

Posted by hasekamp on 16 July 2011 at 14:45 PM
When Yingluck Shinawatra takes up her post as leader of the new government, Thailand won't just have a female prime minister. Her bodyguards, too, are likely to be drawn from the fairer sex. "Female bodyguards are able to remain closer to female VIPs," said Pol Lt-Colonel Korakarn Arunplod, who is among the first generation of female bodyguards in Thailand. Korakarn started her career as a bodyguard in 1995. Among the VIPs she has taken care of are Hillary Rodham Clinton, Empress Michiko of Japan and members of the Thai Royal Family. She suggested that PM-elect Yingluck should have both male and female bodyguards. Beyond issues of security, having bodyguards of both sexes would create the best image. And there are more practical concerns: "It is not appropriate for male bodyguards to enter private spaces such as women's bathrooms." She added that women were better at coordinating than men, though men were generally stronger. (Source: The Nation)


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Most MPs clearded by July 28

Posted by hasekamp on 14 July 2011 at 11:18 AM
The Election Commission is giving assurances it will be able to endorse at least 95% of MPs by July 28. At least 475 of 500 MPs are required to convene the first meeting of the House of Representatives. The EC has endorsed 358 MPs. EC secretary-general Suthipol Thaweechaiyagarn said the agency would investigate complaints against the remaining winners, and endorse the results if it finds no reason to pursue the complaints. Pheu Thai's potential prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and outgoing Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva are among those still waiting. He said the EC expects to announce the suspension of winning candidates, if any, on July 19 and new elections will take place on July 31. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Last cabinet meeting under Abhisit

Posted by hasekamp on 13 July 2011 at 20:07 PM
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday chaired his Cabinet for the last time, concluding his government term that saw 133 ministerial meetings to map out policies and tackle national issues. "Chaiyo! My last Cabinet meeting just ended," he said, cheering reporters after an hour-long meeting. Abhisit thanked his ministers for their cooperation in administering the country. He congratulated ministers who would return to work with the next government, alluding to those appointed under Chart Thai Pattana and Chart Pattana Puea Pandin quotas. (Source: The Nation)


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Chamlong doesn't like election result

Posted by hasekamp on 13 July 2011 at 20:01 PM
Maj-Gen Chamlong Srimuang, a core member of the yellow-shirt People's Alliance for Democracy, on Wednesday filed a petition with the Supreme Court's Election Cases Division against the Election Commission, calling for the court to nullify the July 3 polls and order a new general election. He said the EC had made a mistake in administering the election, causing about 2 million eligible voters, including himself and his wife, who registered to vote in advance in the 2007 election, to have been denied the right to vote in their constituencies this time. On July 11, he submitted a petition asking the EC to cancel endorsement of candidates elected on July 3, but the EC ignored it and went ahead and did so on Tuesday. In his petition, Maj-Gen Chamlong asked the court to nullify the July 3 election and order the EC to hold a new general election. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Abhisit to stay as DEM leader

Posted by hasekamp on 11 July 2011 at 11:37 AM
The Democrat Party will likely vote to reinstall Abhisit Vejjajiva for a second term as party leader, acting secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban said yesterday, dismissing a rift over Abhisit's leadership. "There is no rift within the party and I wonder where such speculation came from," he said. Suthep said he was confident the Democrats would form an unanimous decision to rally behind Abhisit at the party convention, scheduled to convene next month. Democrat MP-elect Ong-art Klampaiboon said rumours about certain Democrats from the South opposing Abhisit was groundless. "I have talked with southern Democrats and they confirm their unwavering support for Abhisit," he said. (Source: The Nation)


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Jealousy

Posted by hasekamp on 9 July 2011 at 16:07 PM
The Democrat Party of Friday initiated legal action seeking the dissolution of the Pheu Thai Party, filing a complaint with the Election Commission about the involvement of banned politicians. The outgoing ruling party asked the Election Commission to recommend that the rival Puea Thai Party, which won the July 3 general election, be disbanded on the grounds that banned politicians were involved in its election campaign. Democrat legal team member Wirat Kallayasiri said some of the 111 executive members of the dissolved Thai Rak Thai Party who were banned from politics for five years in 2008 - including ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra and Thai Rak Thai deputy leader Chaturon Chaisang - have been more involved in Pheu Thai's activities than the actual Pheu Thai executive members. "Some members of 'House No.111' were involved in choosing party list and constituency candidates, and they also determine the policies of Pheu Thai, such as 'Thaksin Thinks, Pheu Thai acts'," Mr Wirat said. The Democrats would like the EC to take action because if Thaksin and Chaturon were found guilty of breaching the charter, Thaksin and Chaturon should be banned from politics for five more years, he added.
Prime minister-apparent Yingluck Shinawatra today rejected as baseless reports that she planned to go to Hong Kong to meet elder brother Thaksin on Sunday to discuss the cabinet lineup. Ms Yingluck said she was too busy working on drafting the policies of the incoming government to be delivered to parliament. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Yingluck has the last word

Posted by hasekamp on 8 July 2011 at 11:46 AM
Will the Oil Fund be scrapped or not? Will the baht be allowed to float freely or be managed? Will red shirt leaders be allowed to become ministers, or will they be banished from the cabinet? Realising it could cause public confusion with daily back-tracking and corrections, the Pheu Thai Party has resolved to give the microphone only to its would-be prime ministerial candidate Yingluck Shinawatra. A high-level meeting chaired by Ms Yingluck yesterday agreed that from now on, no Pheu Thai member would be allowed to comment in public on the party's policies and how they would be implemented. Such matters would be left to Ms Yingluck only. The move to streamline communication came after what appeared to be a series of flip-flops on policy proposals. At the final rally two days before the election, Ms Yingluck announced that her party would scrap the Oil Fund to lower fuel prices. On Wednesday, she also declared as an urgent task a measure to end contributions of three fuel products to the Oil Fund. Yesterday, however, she switched track slightly and said her party had no plans to jettison the Oil Fund after all. It is only looking at halting contributions to the fund temporarily. Ms Yingluck yesterday said the government would not actively intervene in the baht, and that Mr Suchart's remark was just a preliminary analysis. Yesterday, Ms Yingluck insisted the selection of cabinet members is not closed to red shirt leaders provided they are qualified. (S0urce: The Bangkok Post)


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Pregnant panda

Posted by hasekamp on 6 July 2011 at 17:35 PM
Chiang Mai Zoo expects another panda cub may be on the way after the famous panda mama has been found experiencing hormonal fluctuations and an expansion of her uterus - signs of pregnancy for pandas. An ultrasound scan was conducted by a veterinarian from Chulalongkorn University, which showed an expansion of her uterus. This means she will probably give birth in about 10 days. The veterinarian, Kannikar Nimtrakul said, however, the team had not found an embryo yet. (Source: The Nation)


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Five party coalition with 299 MPs

Posted by hasekamp on 4 July 2011 at 11:25 AM
PM candidate Yingluck Shinawatra Monday announced a five-party coalition with 299 MPs. The five Yingluck coalition parties are Pheu Thai, Chat Thai Pattana, Chat Pattana Phua Pandin, Palang Chon and Mahachon. The announcement came one day after the July 3 election which saw her party won over Democrat Party of Abhisit Vejjajiva. She stressed "reconciliation" must take place and economy be rebuilt. She said the Kanit na Nakhon panel, which was set up by the Abhisit government to investigate fact behind the bloody violence, would be invited to go on working. "Corruption is another problem that we will solve," Yingluck told a press conference. "299 is a beautiful number", Yingluck said of her government's strength. Replying to questions from reporters, Yingluck insisted the Pheu Thai had no policy to grant amnesty for a single person. (Source: The Nation)


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Abhisit resigns

Posted by hasekamp on 4 July 2011 at 11:22 AM
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva announced his resignation as leader of the Democrat Party on Monday morning. The outgoing prime minister's announcement follows the crushing defeat inflicted by the rival Pheu Thai Party in the 2011 general election on Sunday. "I've decided to resign because I could not lead my party to victory in the election," Mr Abhisit said. Democrat executive members will meet to select a new party leader within 90 days, as the law requires, he said. Before the election, Mr Abhisit said he would step down as Democrat leader if his party won fewer seats than in the previous general election. The unofficial election result shows that the Democrats won 159 seats yesterday. In 2007, the party won 164 seats. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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First impression PT 255, DEM 164

Posted by hasekamp on 3 July 2011 at 18:57 PM
No results have been announced for Phuket yet, but nationwide the votes have been counted to the extent of 48 per cent and the Pheu Thai Party appears to be well in the lead, having garnered 255 MPs. The Democrats came second with 164 MPs, according to the count by the Royal Thai Police and the Election Commission as of 6:13 pm. The Bhum Jai Thai would win 34 MPs; the Chart Thai Pattana, 21 MPs; Chart Pattana Pua Pandin, 10 MPs; and Palang Chon seven MPs. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)
International press Agencies report around 265 MPs for PT at around 5 pm GMT.


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Thaksin: This is reconciliation

Posted by hasekamp on 3 July 2011 at 18:55 PM
The vote cast for Pheu Thai reflects the voice of the people favouring reconciliation, ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra said on Sunday in a telephone interview aired by Thai PBS an hour after the close of balloting. "Pheu Thai is clear about seeking reconciliation," he said. Thaksin attributed Pheu Thai's victory to the collective efforts by party ranks and not just his prodding. He said he would not return to Thailand if his homecoming would stir up trouble. "I have no urgency to return and I won't want to cause trouble," he said. (Source: The Nation)


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Abhisit has to go, Yingluck new PM

Posted by hasekamp on 3 July 2011 at 18:51 PM
Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva conceded the election on Sunday night after unofficial results made it clear the Pheu Thai Party had won an overwhelming victory. "I would like to thank all Thais who voted for the Democrat Party," the outgoing prime minister said. He said Pheu Thai's victory was clear from the unofficial election result. Mr Abhisit said he would like to congratulate Pheu Thai's top party list candidate Yingluck Shinawatra as the next and first female prime minister. "In the past two years, I have committed myself to overcome the crisis and I would like to thank Thai people for moving the country to the current position. He said the Democrats are ready to be opposition.
At about 7.50pm, Ms Yingluck gave her address to thank Pheu Thai's supporters. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Very high turnout on Election Day

Posted by hasekamp on 3 July 2011 at 18:48 PM
Thai voters turned out in overwhelming numbers for Sunday's election, with the turnout believed to be higher than the previous record of 74 per cent four years ago. Many poll stations had long queues of voters while polling stations hit by floods and rain still reported high turnouts. Election Commission (EC) member Somchai Juengprasert was among voters who had to wait for an hour to exercise his right at the 37th poll station in Bangkok's Wang Thong Lang district. Traffic in Bangkok and Nonthaburi was very congested as voters travelled to and from polling stations. In Suphan Buri's Muang district, provincial Governor Somsak Phurisrisak, who voted in Tambon Tha Rahad, said people were much more alert than before and estimated an 80 percent turnout. (Source: The Nation)


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Visit Phuket? Have a Russian guide

Posted by hasekamp on 2 July 2011 at 11:45 AM
A Phuket provincial sub-committee has been formed to tackle the issue of illegal guides from Russia and Korea working in the local tourism industry. Phuket Vice Governor Nivit Aroonrat on Tuesday chaired a provincial committee meeting aimed at tackling a variety of tourist rip-offs. The gathering followed a visit to Phuket by the Interior Ministry in May when officials called on all relevant local authorities to study various ways tourists are cheated here, and to develop prevention plans. Four sub-committees, comprising government and private-sector representatives, were given 15 days to list problems in each of four areas:
1. Public transport, such as illegal black plate taxis and scandalous tuk-tuk fares. (Free solution, offered by Hasekamp Net: Install taxi meters in Phuket tuk-tuks. It helped in Bangkok).
2. Deceptive and threatening sales tactics, such as those used by some timeshare operators. (Free advise for sellers: Moderate your prices and do not jump upon tourists).
3. Use of illegal guides and other unfair practices by tour operators. (Free solution: Moderate your prices, local guides).
4. Environmental issues. (Free advise for everybody: Do not eat shrimps and do not buy other products for which the Phuket rainforest was destroyed. Let the people who did this go broke). (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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10,000 security cameras in Bangkok

Posted by hasekamp on 2 July 2011 at 11:36 AM
Watch your step: The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) yesterday installed the city's 10,000th security camera at Victory Point Plaza, near the Victory Monument, and vowed to keep adding them until there were 20,000 security cameras around Bangkok by the end of next year. In a ceremony to mark the installation, Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra said the 10,000 security cameras aimed to protect people by covering risky areas, including 700 schools, 600 communities and markets, and 160 hospitals and important sites. After the number of cameras reaches 20,000, the BMA will integrate them with about 200,000 closed circuit cameras belonged to private organisations and other agencies, feeding images through fibre-optic cables to coordination centres in 50 districts as well as to police stations. The images will also be sent to the city hall's security system and risky area control centre, which will pass them on to agencies such as the Metropolitan Police Bureau. (Source: The Nation)


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UNESCO: Bangkok World Book Capital

Posted by hasekamp on 2 July 2011 at 11:32 AM
A remarkable decision: Bangkok has been named the Wprld Book Capital. It will be over a year before the title takes effect, but Bangkok has been chosen as World Book Capital for 2013. The city was selected by a committee made up of representatives from the three main branches of the publishing world and Unesco, which met at the organisation's Paris headquarters on June 27. Each year this committee awards the title to a city which has committed itself to promote books and reading, and to highlight the vitality of literary creativity. The nomination does not involve any financial prize, but "is an exclusively symbolic acknowledgement of the best programme dedicated to books and reading,"the committee said. The committee selected Bangkok "for its willingness to bring together all the various stakeholders in the book supply chain and beyond, actors involved in the publication chain for a range of projects proposed, for its community focused and the high level of its commitment through the proposed activities." "With its accent on cooperation and dialogue, at local, national and international levels, this programme responds perfectly to the objectives of the World Book Capital project, which is attracting the attention of an increasing number of cities worldwide," she said.
Bangkok is the 13th World Book Capital following Madrid (Spain, 2001), Alexandria (Egypt, 2002), New Delhi (India, 2003), Antwerp (Belgium, 2004), Montreal (Canada, 2005), Turin (Italy, 2006), Bogota (Colombia, 2007), Amsterdam (The Netherlands, 2008), Beirut (Lebanon, 2009), Ljubljana (Slovenia, 2010), Buenos Aires (Argentina, 2011) and Yerevan (Armenia, 2012). The World Book Capital selection committee includes representatives from the International Publishers Associations (IPAUIE), the International Booksellers Federation (IBF), the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) and Unesco. (Source: The Nation)


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Tomorrow is election day

Posted by hasekamp on 2 July 2011 at 11:27 AM
The evening downpour may have spoiled the party mood at the final rallies of the two major parties, but the show did go on. And because a political rally is a highly anticipated public performance, complete with stage management, lighting techniques and scripted procedures aimed at generating an emotional impact, the Bangkok Post is bringing you a review of the end-of-campaign shows that took place in the capital yesterday.
Democrats: Sticking to tradition, the Democrats went for the Royal Plaza, although it was not an entirely ideal location on the first Friday night after payday. You couldn't really say there was a thrillingly unified mood since the Royal Plaza basically is divided by the King Rama V statue.
Pheu Thai: Though no Kylie Minogue, Yingluck Shinawatra and her Pheu Thai colleagues aimed for a full concert impact at the 70,000-seat Rajamangala Stadium. It was mainly a red shirt affair and a meet-and-greet for groupies, a show of force rather than an attempt to convince undecided voters. Yingluck memorabilia sold well, highlighting the fact that this was a campaign built around a personality. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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