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His Majesty in good health

Posted by hasekamp on 31 August 2014 at 11:43 AM
Latest tests have indicated His Majesty the King is in good health, the Royal Household Bureau said in a statement on Saturday. An X-ray computed tomography scan at Siriraj Hospital showed his stomach, intestines, liver and kidney are functioning normally, it said. A follow-up blood test on Friday also found his nutritional status had improved and no inflammation was detected. As well, the royal doctors reported His Majesty was healthier and had gained weight, eliminating the need for intravenous nutrient supplements. His Majesty has been in Bangkok since Aug 6 for a comprehensive physical checkup after he stayed at Klai Kangwon Palace in Prachuap Khiri Khan province for a little over a year. His Majesty the King is 87 years old. (Source The Bangkok Post)


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Emergency landing with Nok

Posted by hasekamp on 31 August 2014 at 11:37 AM
The budget airline's Boeing 738 aircraft departed from Nakhon Si Thammarat at 7.40am with 139 crew and passengers on board, heading for Don Mueang airport. At about 8.20am the captain of NokAir Flight DD7805 contacted Surat Thani airport, seeking permission to make an emergency landing, saying birds had hit the aircraft's left wing. Atthaporn Nuang-udom, director of Surat Thani airport, said airport authorities quickly moved into action to help the landing with rescue equipment and personnel responding according to international standards. "The crew and passengers were then assembled in the airport's arrival lounge. NokAir arranged for another aircraft to pick them up and flew them safely to Don Mueang on Sunday monring," Mr Atthaporn said. (Source:The Bangkok Post)


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Storm warning for Bangkok

Posted by hasekamp on 29 August 2014 at 19:59 PM
RESIDENTS in Greater Bangkok were warned yesterday to watch out for rainstorms throughout 80 per cent of the capital and its suburbs until tomorrow. A powerful monsoon was passing over the lower North, Central and East regions, bringing heavy downfalls to 80 per cent of the country. Sanya Chenimit, deputy city clerk, said that although precipitation on Wednesday reached 59 millimetres, many areas suffered from inundation on Wednesday because although the precipitation was not huge, the first 100mm in those areas it could not be drained away fast enough. Chaeng Wattana Road with high floods and traffic jams was a low-lying area, so the city brought in pumps to clear the area. Precipitation in Bangkok so far this year has been only 550mm - far from 1,000mm last year - while the northern run-off was not so huge, he said, affirming that the city was monitoring the weather closely. Pol Maj-General Jirasan Kaewsaengake, commander of the Traffic Police, urged motorists to plan their trips well in advance and drive carefully. (Source: The Nation)


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Extended visa

Posted by hasekamp on 28 August 2014 at 14:15 PM
The Immigration Bureau has approved a new regulation that allows tourists to extend their stay in the kingdom by a further 30 days, effective from Aug 29. The Immigration Bureau has approved a new regulation that allows tourists to extend their stay in the kingdom by a further 30 days, effective from Aug 29. That will mean holidaymakers from 49 countries who enter Thailand under a 30-day visa exemption can stay for 60 days, while those who hold a 60-day tourist visa are eligible for the "extra temporary stay" to 90 days. The move is designed to boost tourism, said Pol Col Voravat Amornvivat, deputy commander of the bureau's Investigation Division. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Prayuth brings luck

Posted by hasekamp on 28 August 2014 at 14:08 PM
Thailand's 29th prime minister has set off a frenzy among lottery players looking for "lucky" number 29. Tickets numbers connected, even tangentially, to Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha are either sold out or in short supply in Nakhon Ratchasima province. Buyers snatched up digits signifying his rank in the country's roster of premiers, his birth year, age and even birthday. At lottery-ticket stalls on Jomphol Road behind the Thao Suranaree Monument - the biggest government-lottery market in Nakhon Ratchasima - single pairs of tickets with the number 29 were gone. A handful of ticket sets with 29 remained, but those were selling for at 1,200-3,000 baht for each set of 10-28 tickets. Lottery vendor Busara Chotinaphalai said most buyers were hunting for tickets with 29 as coup leader and army chief Gen Prayuth won the unopposed ballot to be Thailand's 29th prime minister Aug 21. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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New names for TV channels

Posted by hasekamp on 27 August 2014 at 20:33 PM
ACTING ON the junta's decision to lift a previous ban on several satellite channels that acted as mouthpieces for political parties, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) gave the go-ahead to seven channels to resume broadcasting. They are among the 12 satellite TV channels that were suspended after the May 22 coup. NBTC's broadcasting committee yesterday awarded a one-year operating licence to seven channels on condition that they strictly comply with the National Council for Peace and Order regulations and apply self-censorship. These channels were also required to change their names. The channels allowed to go on air include AC Television's MV5 channel, now called Five Channel; Democrat Party's Blue Sky channel, now known as Fah Wan Mai channel; Boon Niyom Foundation's FM TV channel, now renamed Boon Niyom Channel; and ASTV (Thailand)'s ASTV channel, now called News 1. Also included are P&P Channel Co's P&P channel, now broadcasting as People TV; Rauy-Tan-Tee Co's UDD channel, now called Peace TV; and Democracy News Network's DNN channel, which is now called 24 TV channel. (Source: The Nation)


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Rubber sales delayed

Posted by hasekamp on 27 August 2014 at 8:31 AM
Representatives of the rubber farmers' network will submit a letter to Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha to propose measures for their survival. Gen Prayuth assigned Gen Chatchai Sarikalaya to talk with the representatives and accept the letter. The six-group network suggested two emergency measures. Leaders of four groups on May 16 sought an injunction from the Administrative Court to stop the sale of 210,000 tonnes of rubber in the government's stockpile, saying the move would further push down prices. Local rubber prices fell from 55.89 baht a kilogramme on Aug 7 to 51.61kg on Aug 18. The planters recommended the stock be liquidated in February 2015 when there is little tapping activity. The court issued a temporary injunction but since the second inquiry on Aug 19, the injunction has not been renewed. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Political prisoners not yet charged

Posted by hasekamp on 27 August 2014 at 8:27 AM
Political activist Veera Somkwamkid and seven other people arrested on Sunday during a gathering that violated martial law were handed to police yesterday, but yet to be formally charged. Lt-Colonel Burin Thongprapai, judge advocate at the Second Cavalry Division, took the eight to the Crime Suppression Division (CSD). Burin said police were allowed under the law to detain them for no more than seven days without charge. If they are not formally charged within the period, they will be released. He said he had interrogated the eight but declined to give details. "Veera's offence is not serious," he said. Veera and the others, including former senator Boonyuen Siritham, were arrested at Victory Monument while campaigning for reform of the energy sector. Martial law prohibits a political gathering of five people or more. CSD deputy commander Colonel Prasopchok Prommoon said the eight had not been formally charged, adding that the military would brief police later in regard to possible charges. The military is gathering evidence against the eight and the results of that process will determine whether they violated martial law, Prasopchok said. Many people yesterday visited the eight at CSD headquarters, bringing them food. They included Veera's wife Pis-ampai Somkwamkid and Panthep Puapongphan, spokesman for the yellow shirt People's Alliance for Democracy. Panthep said he did not think the eight had violated the junta's order, adding that they simply distributed leaflets calling for reform in the energy sector. (Source: The Nation)


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20 Houses destroyed

Posted by hasekamp on 27 August 2014 at 8:22 AM
A massive fire destroyed 20 houses at a community on Soi Udomsuk early Wednesday, police said. Police said the fire broke out at 3 am and was put under control by 20 fire engines about an hour later. There are about 150 houses at the community situated between Soi Udomsuk 19 and 21. Three people suffered from smoke inhaling and were rushed to the Sirindhorn Hospital. (Source:The Nation)


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29th Premier

Posted by hasekamp on 25 August 2014 at 18:36 PM
Junta chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha on Monday is officially appointed as the 29th prime minister of Thailand. In a ceremony at the army headquarter, Prayuth received a royal command appointing him to the top administration position. The appointment was announced in the Royal Gazette on Sunday. In his first speech after the appointment, Prayuth asked the public to extend cooperation with the authorities to restore the democracy in the country. He said he would submit his cabinet line-up for the royal approval within October. (Source: The Nation)


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Cabinet in October

Posted by hasekamp on 25 August 2014 at 18:33 PM
Newly-appointed Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said Monday that he will submit his Cabinet line-up for a royal endorsement within October. He unveiled the timeframe during a live-televised speech after he received a royal command appointing him the prime minister. (Source: The Nation)


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Gen Prayuth to be PM

Posted by hasekamp on 21 August 2014 at 19:19 PM
While he officially must wait for endorsement by His Majesty the King, coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha said Thursday he was ready to begin work as Thailand's 29th prime minister. Visiting the 21st Infantry Regiment in Chon Buri province while the National Legislative Assembly unanimously voted him in as premier, Gen Prayuth, Thailand's army chief and chairman of the National Council for Peace and Order, said he wouldn't make any moves until he is officially named prime minister after the royal endorsement. However, once in office, he promised his cabinet will strictly adhere to the agenda and timeline set by the NCPO. The junta's road map requires comprehensive reforms before any new general election is called. The military regime earlier said it expected new polls to be held in late 2015. The Pheu Thai Party, whose government Gen Prayuth's NCPO ousted in May, urged the incoming prime minister to make abolishment of martial law his first priority. Pheu Thai deputy secretary-general Chavalit Wichaisut said ending martial law will restore confidence of tourists and investors in Thailand. Gen Prayuth imposed martial law May 20 before seizing power from Pheu Thai caretaker government two days later. The NLA nominated him as prime minister Wednesday in an uncontested race. (Source:The Bangkok Post)


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Illegal guides

Posted by hasekamp on 20 August 2014 at 16:34 PM
About a dozen Chinese-speaking Thai tour guides in Bangkok on Wednesday asked police to take action against illegal Chinese guides for allegedly threatening to assault them. The group led by Paisarn Suathanuwong filed a complaint along with photos and audio clips as evidence with the Crime Suppression Division on behalf of the Thai-Chinese Tourist Guide Club. On Sunday, about 100 club members converged outside the Grand Palace, one of Bangkok's busiest tourist spots, to protest Chinese who were in Thailand disguised as tourists but working as guides and had taken their jobs. The protest angered the illegal Chinese guides, prompting about 70-80 of them to meet in Ratchadaphisek Soi 18 on Tuesday to discuss their response. An audio clip was later found posted on YouTube encouraging members of the unregistered Chinese guides to contribute money to hire a gang to assault the Thai guides. A group of people had tried to look for Thai Chinese-speaking guides at tourist spots and intimidated some club members via telephone calls. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Military foreign minister?

Posted by hasekamp on 20 August 2014 at 10:19 AM
The Foreign Ministry might find it difficult to fulfil its mission to put Thailand in a leading position in the international community if the new foreign minister to be picked soon carries a military rank, senior ministry officials said yesterday. Junta chief Prayuth Chan-ocha, who might take the premiership, reportedly prefers his deputy General Tanasak Patimapragorn, who is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, as the new foreign minister. The four-star general is now the deputy chief of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) overseeing foreign affairs and the ministry.The problem is that it is difficult for Thai envoys to explain to their foreign counterparts and the international community why Thailand needs to have a military officer as foreign minister when the country has plenty of capable diplomats, the officials said. Foreign affairs and diplomacy are the missions of civilians, not the military, they said. "Having two coups within less than a decade is hard enough to explain," said a senior official on condition of anonymity. (Source: The Nation)


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Another crackdown

Posted by hasekamp on 20 August 2014 at 10:15 AM
Over the past three years, up to 200,000 people have been arrested for the offence of illegal motorcycle racing, assistant national police chief Pol Lt-General Ruangsak Jaritake said yesterday. He went on to say that from now on, police would not only arrest the racers, but also onlookers who cheer them on, as well owners of shops that sell modified racing vehicles and the parents of the underage racers. Illegal racing on public roads is punishable by up to three months in jail and a fine of Bt2,000 to Bt10,000. Under the new regulation, parents of underage racers will also face three months in jail and be fined Bt30,000. Owners of shops that illegally modify racing vehicles face a month in prison and up to Bt50,000 in fines. Members of the public are encouraged to call the 1599 hotline at any time of the day or night to report illegal racing. Ruangsak said the illegal racers often raced down Klong Toey, Ratchadapisek, Kaset-Nawamin, Kanchanapisek, Rama IV, Vibhavadi-Rangsit, Petchaburi and Ram-Indra roads. (Source: The Nation)


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Illegally used parkland reclaimed

Posted by hasekamp on 19 August 2014 at 23:18 PM
More than 700 rai of public land inside Sirinath National Park could be returned to the public by September 16 if a dozen land documents under investigation by the Land Department are found to have been illegally issued. "I am quite confident that most of the [12] documents [under investigation] were illegally issued. We are just waiting for officers from the Land Department to finish their investigation," Director-General Niphon Chotiban of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) said yesterday after an inspection of the park area at Sai Kaew Beach in Mai Khao. "I am also confident that none of the Land Department officers would risk their livelihoods by approving illegal land documents. "If all of the 12 plots [under investigation] are found to be illegal, we will be able to reclaim at least 700 rai of public land." (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Hua Hin beach cleaned

Posted by hasekamp on 18 August 2014 at 18:47 PM
Twenty-two food vendors whose stalls encroached on Hua Hin beach began dismantling their illegal structures on Monday as authorities launched a campaign to return the beach to its natural beauty and ensure fair food prices. The vendors started to pull down their stalls and pack up cooking equipment in the morning. Soldiers and city cleaners helped them remove large items such as framework and refrigerators. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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2015 budget accepted

Posted by hasekamp on 18 August 2014 at 18:43 PM
The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) voted on Monday to accept in principle the 2015 budget bill, with the Education Ministry getting the biggest budget, followed by the Interior Ministry. The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) voted on Monday to accept in principle the 2015 budget bill, with the Education Ministry getting the biggest budget, followed by the Interior Ministry. The members voted 183 in favour, with three abstentions. A 50-member panel was also set up to scrutinise it in the coming weeks. The Education Ministry was allocated the biggest budget of 502.25 billion baht, a 4% increase from last year's budget and 19.5% of the total budget allocations. Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, chairman of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has called for education reforms as part of his plans to reshape the country and restore political stability. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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No plans for political amnesty

Posted by hasekamp on 18 August 2014 at 18:36 PM
Gen Paiboon Koomchaya, chief of justice affairs on the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), denied Monday that the NCPO planned to conduct an opinion survey on amnesty for political cases. Speaking during the Inside Thailand programme on Spring News and FM97.0 MHz, Paiboon said the report by Thai Rath Online Sunday, which was quoted by several other newspapers Monday, was not true. Thai Rath Online quoted Paiboon as saying that he had been instructed by NCPO chief Gen Prayuth to group political cases together and consider surveying opinions to find whether the public would find it acceptable to grant amnesty in certain cases. (Source: The Nation)


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100+ projects approved

Posted by hasekamp on 17 August 2014 at 22:59 PM
The junta has approved an Bt800-million budget to tackle drought and flooding across the country. Approval was given at yesterday's meeting of the ruling National Council for Peace and Order's economic team. General Chatchai Sarikalaya, deputy head of the economic team, said the measure was part of the water management master plan to be revealed later this year. He chaired the meeting at Army headquarters. Engineering soldiers have been assigned to help carry out 105 projects so far and some 30 per cent of the work has been completed, Chatchai said. He stressed that the engineers were ready to be mobilised to do more work together with six agencies, which were assigned the work on July 25. He said the teams undertaking the jobs were fully equipped so the work could be done efficiently. During the meeting, Chatchai said the issue of flooding in the Northeast and East was raised including how flood water could be channelled out of affected areas. Drought issues were also discussed. (Source: The Nation)


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US call for democracy

Posted by hasekamp on 15 August 2014 at 11:20 AM
US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday called for Thai junta to lift restriction on political activities and speech. The junta should restore civilian rule and return quickly to democracy through free and fair election. "In Thailand, a close friend and ally, we are disturbed by the setback to democracy and hope it is a temporary bump in the road," Kerry said. The top US diplomat spoke during a stop in Hawaii that concluded a global tour through Afghanistan, Australia, Myanmar and Solomon Islands as part of the US administration's "rebalance" to Asia. Commenting on democracy and human rights in Asia, Kerry acknowledged "bright spots," but also pointed to "backsliding" in places such as Thailand, where the army seized power in May. (Source: The Nation)


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Protest against dolphinarium

Posted by hasekamp on 15 August 2014 at 11:17 AM
he construction of a dolphinarium in the Thai resort of Phuket sparked outrage from animal rights groups Friday, who said the development was unnecessary, and harmed animals. "We're basically taking these animals from the wild to die in a show for our entertainment," said Nancy Gibson, head of the Love Wildlife Foundation. The groups said they would petition the fisheries department against granting the dolphinarium an aquatic zoo licence for the island resort. "People won't come to Phuket for a dolphin show," said Nancy, denying the claim that the dolphinarium would promote tourism. In recent months wildlife groups including SEEK Phuket (Society, Environment, Economy and Knowledge), the Love Wildlife Foundation and DolphinProject.org have hosted several events including a speech by Richard O'Barry, the host of the 2009 documentary The Cove. An official at the company that owns the land, and said by activists to be behind the development, declined to comment on the protests, or to confirm or deny that the facility would house dolphins. A Ukrainian dolphinarium company, linked to the Phuket attraction according to activists, is taking bookings for shows in Phuket from October. (Source: The Nation)


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High expectations

Posted by hasekamp on 12 August 2014 at 11:11 AM
Many Participants at yesterday's Road to Thailand Reform event agreed it was time to reform the country and are optimistic the efforts would finally end the political crisis. They also expressed confidence in the leadership of the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). The audience, which numbered more than 1,000, included military officials, non-governmental organisation members, public servants, farmers and politicians. The event commenced at 10am at Army Club. Piroch Jirakarnchanakij, of the Department of Local Administration, said: "The country's problems have been going on for too long. Therefore, it's about time to fix the problems. "The meeting today was useful because it gave knowledge about the reform." Naret Rewong, of the Mass Internal Security Operations Command, said he was optimistic the NCPO would lead the country out of the current turbulence. "I am impressed with General Prayuth. He's decisive and direct," he said. "I particularly like his proposal to focus on raising the salary base for lower-rank public servants because if we raise salaries at all levels, it will cost too much." Naret said he was impressed with the many things that had been done since the NCPO took over, including the introduction of new regulations governing public buses as part of the plan to relieve traffic congestion. "The public bus issue was nothing new, but hasn't been effectively solved in the past but NCPO was decisive in tackling the problem," he said. (Source The Nation)


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Special nutrition for His Majesty

Posted by hasekamp on 11 August 2014 at 16:01 PM
Doctors have recommended that His Majesty the King take additional nutrients via intravenous feeding, according to the Royal Household Bureau's statement.The parenteral nutrition will allow His Majesty to regain his health faster." The recommendation was made in response to the results of a nutritional and vitamin test. The much-revered monarch, who turns 87 in December, is now undergoing comprehensive health checks at Siriraj Hospital. Blood tests suggest His Majesty has not had any major inflammation of body parts, except minor inflammation in his stomach - for which doctors have prescribed medicines. The King was admitted to the Bangkok hospital last Wednesday for checkups, after spending about a year at his seaside palace in Prachuap Khiri Khan province. The Royal Household Bureau said His Majesty's body temperature, breathing, blood pressure and heart were functioning normally. It said X-rays showed his lungs were also normal, while electrocardiography tests did not detect any change in the condition of his heart compared to results from previous tests. (Source: The Nation)


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King had nothing to do with coup

Posted by hasekamp on 10 August 2014 at 14:56 PM
Prayuth Chan-ocha has pledged the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) will not interfere with national reform as the junta leader kicked off the process on Saturday. Comprehensive reforms will be implemented by the National Reform Council (NRC) to be set up by Oct 2, according to Gen Prayuth. "Many are watching the direction of the NRC and wondering whether it will work. That will be left to all Thais, not me or the NCPO,'' he told a forum at the Royal Thai Army Club to officially kick off the process. Reforms are necessary to stamp out abuse of authority, which bears several consequences including violent confrontations, he said. The move would be difficult and hard to understand by other countries but it must be done, he added. "I've said that we have to look forward beyond ourselves. We have to look at what we can do for the people, society or those under us. I'm no better or smarter than you but that's what I think,'' he said. The NCPO set up the Centre for National Reconciliation and Reform shortly after the May 22 coup. But the army chief said the centre would not dictate the reform council as the centre's duty was to gather information from all parties to prepare for the reform process. The NRC comprises 250 members €” 77 from each province and Bangkok and 173 from 11 fields to be reformed €” picked by the military regime. The list will come from candidates in two categories of which application processes will start on Thursday. Gen Prayuth led the armed forces and the police to seize the ruling power in May after the eight-month-long political unrest culminated in violence in the capital. Securing law and order is the main goal of the junta after the coup and reforms are in the second stage before an election is held as the destination of the roadmap. The army chief said he had made the decision to lead soldiers to the streets by himself with no involvement from His Majesty the King. ''Don't ever drag His Majesty into this. His Majesty never issued an order. [I] pay respect to his image every day and ask for his pardon,'' he said. Gen Prayuth expected a government would be formed later this month and a new election held in late 2015 after the reforms are completed. (Source: The BangkokPost)


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Judges sacked

Posted by hasekamp on 9 August 2014 at 10:40 AM
The Judicial Commission sacked four senior judges and punish three other judges for improper bail decisions. Patarasak Wannasaeng, secretary-general of the Courts of Justice, admitted on Friday the reports of the disciplinary actions were true. He said that the penalties took immediate effect and the punished persons had no rights to petition against the decisions. According to a Courts of Justice source, the Judicial Commission early this week punished seven judges for improper decisions when they temporary released defendants in drug cases and other cases from 2005 to 2010. Ong-art Rojanasupoj, a senior justice and former Supreme Court vice-president, and Singphol La-ongmanee, a Supreme Court presiding justice, were expelled. Adisak Thimmas, a senior justice and former Appeals Court president, and Sitthichai Phromsorn, a Supreme Court presiding justice, were also dismissed. Two other Supreme Court jusices faced a suspension of salary rises and one Appeals Court justice was put on probation. These persons were investigated after being found involved in the case of Somsak Chanthakul, a former Appeals Court judge, whom the Judicial Commission had expelled on Dec 21, 2010, for doubtful bail decisions. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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TV channels to be renamed

Posted by hasekamp on 9 August 2014 at 10:35 AM
The National Council for Peace and Order has suggested that the suspended "political" satellite TV stations be renamed and their TV programmes reshuffled to be in accordance with the junta's Order No 97/2557 on media outlets, which bans dissemination of information that would "confuse people" or "cause or widen conflicts". Any media that disseminate false information with the aim of discrediting the NCPO would be investigated by professional organisations. The 12 politically leaning satellite TV channels, whose broadcasts were suspended after the May 22 coup, will continue to be off the air to avoid creating new conflicts in society, according to a source at the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC). The channels are MV5, DNN, UDD, Asia Update, P&P, 4 Channel, Bluesky, FMTV, ASTV, Hot TV, Rescue, and a station operated by the Students' and People's Network for Thailand's Reform. (Source: The Nation)


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Monk thinks he knows better

Posted by hasekamp on 5 August 2014 at 9:04 AM
Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha is not suited to become Thailand's next prime minister since he has already stated that he does not want power, Luang Pu Buddha Isara said on his Facebook page. "Many people back Gen Prayuth as the new prime minister but I feel that it would be disgraceful. "Gen Prayuth always tells us that he doesn't want power but only wants to help the country and I'm happy that he's following His Majesty the King's advice," said the activist monk, who is a core member of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC).(Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Gen Prayuth best PM

Posted by hasekamp on 4 August 2014 at 11:08 AM
Junta chief Gen Prayuth Chanocha is suitable to serve as premier because he has the capabilities to administer the country. Many sections of society agree with the idea of having Prayuth as the new premier, Navy Commander in Chief Admiral Narong Pipattanasai said. However the junta chief has never discussed the matter with military leaders. yesterday, Air Force chief chief ACM Prajin Juntong backed Prayuth as the new prime minister, saying the junta supremo had shown he could run the country competently since the coup two months ago. There would be no problem if Prayuth stays on as chief of the National Council for Peace and Order while serving as the premier, said Prajin, a deputy NCPO chief. (Source: The Nation)


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Can Thailand save the tiger?

Posted by hasekamp on 4 August 2014 at 11:04 AM
THE PLANNING for a genetics regional database for wild cats in Thailand has begun in hopes of rescuing wild breeding tiger populations in the region - but serious law enforcement is still necessary to save the endangered animals, says the project's executive officer Panthera Alan Rabinowitz. The genetics lab, if successful, could mark Thailand as a regional hub for tiger conservation - allowing for scientists to study and find ways in preserving the big cats. Currently USAID, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the First Secretary from the US Embassy, and Chulalongkorn University have all expressed an interest in the project. Should everything run smoothly, lab setups and the training of personnel may begin early in 2015 and are expected to run 3-5 years in Thailand and 10 years in the entire region. Tigers in Thailand are crucial because the Kingdom has the last known breeding population of the Indo-Chinese tigers in the region. Only some 3,000 wild tigers are left in the world, of which around 200 are located in Thailand. Despite increased efforts to conserve these big cats by local governments, poachers who hunt the animals for Chinese medicinal purposes or for profit are still destroying the species faster than they can breed. (Source: The Nation)


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Lese majeste sentence

Posted by hasekamp on 2 August 2014 at 22:40 PM
A Thai musician has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for lese majeste, according to a court official. The 28-year-old was found guilty of posting insulting messages about the monarchy on Facebook between 2010 and 2011, said the official in Ubon Ratchathani, without giving the man's name or any further details. The court sentenced the musician to three years each on nine counts of lese majeste and four months each on 12 counts of violating the Computer Crime Act. But after he admitted to all the charges his sentence was reduced to 15 years in jail. "The suspect had repeatedly committed wrongdoings and in this case the judge has sentenced him with minimum penalties for both charges," AFP quoted the court official as saying. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Inheritance tax

Posted by hasekamp on 2 August 2014 at 22:36 PM
FOR THE first time in the Kingdom's modern history, Thais who are bequeathed fortunes by their wealthy relatives would have to start paying an inheritance tax under a Finance Ministry proposal that has already been blessed by the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). The ministry also has floated two taxes on real estate and beverages. Permanent secretary Rungson Sriworasat said the ministry had briefed the NCPO about the inheritance tax plan last month. The junta has agreed with this initiative and will send it to the Council of State for legal review. When the NCPO finalises the draft tax bill, the Finance Ministry will table it before the National Legislative Assembly when it comes into existence this year. The inheritance and real-estate tax ideas are not new. The Finance Ministry has bounced them off all governments over the past 10 years because both taxes will ensure fairness for all taxpayers, he said. However, all of the governments, which came from elections, could not pass this act because it would have burdened some people who are landowners and estate recipients. (Source: The Nation)


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