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600 arrested as criminals

Posted by hasekamp on 29 June 2015 at 17:39 PM
ALMOST 600 people were arrested in a large crime suppression operation in the North as part of a security crackdown ahead of the mobile Cabinet meeting in Chiang Mai today and tomorrow. Fifth Region Provincial Police Commissioner Lt-General Tanitsak Teerasawat yesterday labelled the operation "very successful". Tanitsak said 581 offenders were arrested for offences in a range of categories - firearms, drugs, illegal immigration, gambling, entertainment zoning law violations, sexual harassment and robbery - or were wanted under an existing warrant. Alleged drug and firearm offences were by far the most |common at 209 and 160 arrests, respectively. Tanitsak said 168 guns, 102 bullets, 116,292 amphetamine pills, 69 kilograms of methamphetamine, 48 kilograms of opium and 15 motorcycles were seized. (Source: The Nation)


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The rest of the country against bar girl

Posted by hasekamp on 29 June 2015 at 17:36 PM
Many Thai Facebook users Monday cried foul and condemned a female worker of a bar on the Pattaya walking street after she was captured on a camera performing oral sex for an Asian tourist. A user posted the photo and many joined in to attack the bar girl, saying she had caused shame to the country. (Source: Then Nation)


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Is Thailand ready to handle MERS?

Posted by hasekamp on 26 June 2015 at 11:10 AM
TIGHTER preparation measures to tackle MERS were encouraged at private hospitals as the Health Service Support Department (HSSD) team launched an inspection yesterday at Bangkok's Vejthani Hospital. Up until now, at-risk MERS suspects in Chaiyaphum and Buri Ram provinces have shown no evidence of the infection. HSSD director-general Boonruang Triruangworawat led the team to inspect the MERS preparation and screening measures at Vejthani Hospital in Bang Kapi district. They found that a thermal scan camera had been installed at the hospital's front door where visitors enter through two lanes. A disease-screening checkpoint had been set up and equipped with translators for patients from the Middle East. About 16 per cent of the hospital's patients come from that region. The HSSD team was told the hospital will quarantine people suspected of having MERS - found to have a fever at the screening area - by transferring them to a special lift to carry them directly to a disease control unit on the building's fourth floor. A doctor would collect body fluid for testing at a MERS laboratory at Chulalongkorn Hospital. Normally, it would take six hours to get test results. (Source: The Nation)


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US: severe Human Rights restrictions

Posted by hasekamp on 26 June 2015 at 11:07 AM
Thailand has seen "severe" restrictions on freedom of expression, assembly and the media since last year's military coup, while human rights problems persist in the Far South, the United States concluded in its annual human rights report released in Washington Thursday. In its compendium of reports about the human-rights situation during 2014 in countries around the world, the US State Department chronicles the sweeping changes imposed by the military, detailing the "numerous decrees severely limiting civil liberties, including restrictions on freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press". The report states no outright opinions or judgements on the events that transpired last year. In fact, in introducing the report, Secretary of State John Kerry said it was not intended to be "sanctimonious," as every country, including the United States, had room for improvement. "We couldn't help but have humility when we have seen what we have seen in the last year in terms of racial discord and unrest. So we approach this with great self-awareness," he said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Tap water rationed

Posted by hasekamp on 26 June 2015 at 11:04 AM
Tap water may be rationed in the near future in parts of eight provinces due to the severe, continuing drought this year, the Provincial Waterworks Authority (PWA) has warned. PWA governor Rattana Kitchawan said an examination of raw water supply for the 234 PWA branches nationwide indicated the authority was still able to supply tap water to a majority of users, with three branches in Chachoengsao and one in Prachin Buri affected by salinity. However, water rationing is likely to be necessary by 10 PWA branches in eight provinces -- Chanthaburi, Nakhon Ratchasima, Surat Thani, Khon Kaen, Chaiyaphum, Amnat Charoen, Nakhon Sawan and Phetchabun. She said rationing of tap water would be delayed if possible, but the drought this year was the most severe in decades. Water was rationed by four branches in 2014, but this year 10 branch offices were currently being supplied only at prearranged times. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Cabinet members not invited at US Embassy

Posted by hasekamp on 23 June 2015 at 12:24 PM
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will travel to Japan next month to attend the Mekong-Japan Summit to boost cooperation with Japan, an informed source said yesterday. As it happens, the July 2-4 visit will coincide with the 4th of July party hosted by the US Embassy at a Bangkok hotel on July 2. The source said that Prayut has yet to get an invitation to the US independence celebration. He was not invited to the event last year. The Nation was able to confirm that a civilian Cabinet member has not received his invitation yet. Shortly after last year's coup, the US downgraded its diplomatic ties with Thailand, though it maintained the Cobra Gold military exercise in the Kingdom. Meanwhile, a source at the US Embassy told The Nation it had invited 4,000 guests, though the embassy has not yet received all the RSVPs. However, he said only around half of the invited guests actually show up at such events. (Source: The Nation)


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PAD leaders broke (at last)

Posted by hasekamp on 23 June 2015 at 12:19 PM
Thirteen former leaders of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) face bankruptcy after the Appeals Court ordered them to pay around 600 million baht in compensation to Airports of Thailand for the damage they caused in 2008, according to former activist Maleerat Kaewka. Mrs Maleerat, 61, an activist during the Oct 14, 1973 student uprising, is one of the 13 PAD leaders named defendants in a civil suit filed by the AoT over the occupation of Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports for eight days in 2008 by the PAD's yellow-shirt supporters. The protest brought air services at the two international airports to a halt. The 12 other defendants were -- Maj Gen Chamlong Srimuang, Sondhi Limthongkul, Pibhop Dhongchai, Suriyasai Katasila, Somsak Kosaisuk, Chaiwat Sinsuwong, Somkiat Pongpaibul, Naranyu (formerly known as Saranyu) Wongkrajang, Sirichai Mai-ngam, Samran Rodphet, Thoedphum Jaidee and Amorn Amornratananont. Mrs Maleerat, a former senator for Sakon Nakhon province, said in a message posted on her Facebook page that she was shocked upon learning recently that the Appeals Court ordered the 13 defendants, including herself, to pay a total of 600 million baht compensation for the physical and commercial damage they caused to the AoT. In 2008, the PAD staged a mass anti-government protest that led to the occupation of Government House by PAD protesters for 193 days. During the protest, many protesters were killed and wounded by M79 attacks and gunfire. In late 2008, the PAD leaders led their yellow-shirt supporters to occupy both Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports for eight days, from Nov 26, until Dec 3, 2008. They were pressuring the Somchai Wongsawat government to step down. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Protest against illegal tour guides

Posted by hasekamp on 19 June 2015 at 10:28 AM
Some 100 Thai tour guides rallied outside Muang Pattaya Police Station in Chon Buri's Bang Lamung district early yesterday, demanding serious action against illegal foreign tour guides. They also filed a petition with the mayor of Pattaya.The group, led by Paisarn Sue-tanuwong, wants action to be taken against foreigners illegally working as tour guides in Pattaya as they violated Thai laws, including the Tourism and Guide Registration Act 2008 and the Immigration Act 1979. Many of these illegal tour guides are Russians. (Source:The Nation)


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First MERS victim in Thailand confirmed

Posted by hasekamp on 19 June 2015 at 10:19 AM
Public Health Minister Rajata Rajatanavin said on Thursday that two laboratories had confirmed the results. He said the 75-year-old man has been quarantined at Bamrasbaradura Infectious Diseases Institute in Nonthaburi province. Mr Rajata said the patient was travelling with three family members who are being monitored at the facility. The Public Health Ministry said 59 others are being monitored. They were in contact with the man, including nearby passengers on the airplane and a taxi driver. People from the Middle East frequently come to Thailand for medical treatment. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has urged the public not to panic following the first confirmed case of the deadly Mers virus in the country. Earlier, the Disease Control Department said it was screening travellers at 67 points of entry. "We are checking 67 ports including land, sea and air," said department director-general Sophon Mekthon. "We've told all hospitals in Thailand to be on alert. Those who come back from the Middle East and South Korea must be checked thoroughly." An outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome has killed 23 people and sickened more than 160 in South Korea. Around the world, related deaths have been put at 458. (Source:The Bangkok Post)


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Latest expectations about elections

Posted by hasekamp on 14 June 2015 at 13:12 PM
Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam says he expects an election to be held in August next year if the draft constitution is endorsed in a public referendum. Mr Wissanu said on Sunday he based his predictiion on the National Council for Peace and Order's road map under a scenario that the draft constitution is appproved in a public referendum. If the draft charter is passed by the National Reform Council (NRC) and endorsed in the referendum, which is expected to be held in January, the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) would then draft organic or supplementary laws in February. The draft organic laws would then be sent to the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) for deliberation in March and April, and then go to the Constitutional Court in May. After the organic laws have been approved by the Constitutional Court, preparations would be made in July or August for a general election, which is expected to be held in August. Election results would be announced 30 days after that. His Majesty the King would then preside over the opening session of the House of Representatives. A new prime minister and new cabinet members are expected to be in place in October 2016. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Flooding season has begun

Posted by hasekamp on 14 June 2015 at 13:08 PM
Following heavy rain in Bangkok early yesterday morning - with Prawet district recording the heaviest rainfall at 100 millimetres - Bangkok Metropolitan Administration Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra called a meeting of related officials in response to widespread flooding. He urged officials to be on watch for rainfall and flooding until Wednesday.Rainfall since 1am yesterday caused many roads to be flooded including Ratchathewi district's Sri Ayutthaya Road, Watthana district's Asoke Montri Road and various sections of Sukhumvit Road. Sukhumbhand said the BMA's Flood Prevention Centre had monitored the situation around the clock and many flooded areas were drained by yesterday morning.(Source: The Nation)


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US not happy about "Thai democracy"

Posted by hasekamp on 14 June 2015 at 13:05 PM
THE UNITED STATES still has some reservations about normalising bilateral ties with Thailand, with US charge d'affaires in Thailand W Patrick Murphy saying yesterday that Thai-US relations will return to "full potential once democracy is restored". Murphy made the remark in a reply to a question by The Nation on Twitter in relation to a recent comment by senior US State Department official Scot Marciel. Marciel told a congressional hearing in the United States on Thursday that the Cobra Gold - Asia-Pacific's largest annual multinational military exercise - would take place in Thailand next year, although it would be scaled down. Marciel added that the time frame for elections in Thailand, once tentatively scheduled for autumn 2015, and then early 2016, "could slip even further". "We are concerned that without a timely, transparent and inclusive reform process, the Thai government will never enjoy the public buy-in necessary to build lasting institutions," said Marciel in a joint prepared testimony to the House Subcommittee Overseeing US Foreign Policy in the region. (Source: The Nation)


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Complaint? Call 1111

Posted by hasekamp on 11 June 2015 at 11:06 AM
The Royal Thai Government has launched a new 1111 hotline to receive complaints from foreigners in Thailand, in addition to the existing 1155 Tourist Police Call Centre. In case of emergency, foreigners are advised to dial 1155. The 24-hour Tourist Police Call Centre is ready to offer assistance to both tourists and foreign residents in Thailand. There will be interpreters on standby to receive all emergency calls. If the pressing cases are beyond the centre's jurisdiction, they will be referred to the respective government agencies. For non-emergency matters, foreigners are advised to call 1111. The centre, also available 24-hour daily, is staffed by representatives from all 20 ministries to ensure prompt response for all complaints received from foreigners in Thailand. Complaints received will be coordinated through the centre to related government agencies, state enterprises, and non-governmental organisations. The government plans to expand the 1111 centre's coverage to Thai embassies in the ASEAN countries.


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New rice brand

Posted by hasekamp on 7 June 2015 at 11:08 AM
Organic farmers from Ban Kao Samorkhon in Lop Buri's Tha Wung district, supported by Banpu - the "Asian face of energy" - have launched a brand-new Thai rice product, Khao Samorkhon Organic Sinlek Brown Rice. Suitable for health-conscious consumers of any age, the brand boasts a pure breed of rare Sinlek rice which is 40 per cent richer in fibre, vitamin B1 and iron, is seven times more nutritious, and contains lower glucose levels than other types of rice. Khao Samorkhon Organic Sinlek Brown Rice is a product proudly cultivated by four farming families who were significantly impacted by the severe 2011 floods. With support from Banpu's "Ban Khao Samorkhon Sustainable Development Project" and Ban Khao Samorkhon municipality, the families have since taken up organic rice farming and successfully began producing organic and nutritious yields three years ago. Udomlux Olarn, head of corporate affairs at the stock exchange-listed energy company, said the greatest goal of the project, initiated in 2011, is to help develop flood-affected communities become self-supporting in the long run, having all community members involved in the process of analysing problems and tackling them by themselves. "For the Oraganic Sinlek Rice Farming Programme, we are proud that the farmers have put their hearts into what they do and paid close attention to every detail of the process to achieve the best yields.(Source: The Nation)


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Campaign for ytwo more years Prayut

Posted by hasekamp on 7 June 2015 at 10:59 AM
SOME MEMBERS of the junta-appointed National Reform Council (NRC) are now making moves to support Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's continuation in power. One NRC member said the public could start collecting some 20,000 to 30,000 signatures demanding that Prayut stay on for another two years to ensure the reform process could be completed. He said this would not be initiated by NRC members, as they could be accused of having a vested interest. Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said yesterday that such a move was possible, by including a clause in the referendum on whether to permit the government to stay on for two more years to carry out reform. But it is another matter whether it would be considered appropriate, he added. Wissanu said the list of citizens supporting the move could be submitted to the Cabinet for consideration. The deputy premier refused to comment on the need for a two-year extension to carry out reform, adding there was no need to consider the matter at the moment. Asked if such a move could end up being a repeat of an attempt by Senate members to amend the charter to extend their own term back in 2007, Wissanu said the lesson has already been learnt. "No matter what is done, it should not be a repeat of past mistakes," he said, adding the matter of amending the provisional charter to allow a referendum on the draft charter is already in the pipeline but the date for submission to the National Legislative Assembly has not been fixed. (Source: The Nation)


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More cycling wanted

Posted by hasekamp on 5 June 2015 at 17:29 PM
KING MONGKUT'S Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL) yesterday unveiled the models of three cycling facilities that could support Bangkok's bid to become a bicycle-friendly city and reduce carbon emissions. The unveiling of the models preceded World Environment Day today. If these models are constructed, Bangkok bicyclists would benefit greatly. Cycling has been promoted as a solution to not just Bangkok's traffic nightmare but also its serious pollution problem. "If we travel around on bicycles, we can cut down air pollution," Dr Prapatpong Uppala of KMITL's faculty of architecture said yesterday. He said cycling to work for a stretch of 6.5 kilometres a day could reduce carbon-dioxide emissions by 900 kilograms a year. It is estimated that there are now more than 2 million cyclists in Thailand, he said. Of that number, about 150,000 live in Bangkok and its adjacent provinces. Another 260,000 people cycle for leisure, he said. "Cycling is also good to the environment," Prapatpong said. He told a news conference yesterday that Bangkok was not yet friendly to cyclists, but he hoped the three cycling facilities designed by KMITL students could change that. (Source: The Nation)


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Will Prayut stay longer?

Posted by hasekamp on 5 June 2015 at 17:26 PM
PRIME MINISTER Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday stated for the first time that he was ready to remain in power for another two years to complete the national reforms. But he said he needed protection from criticisms both inside and outside Thailand if his government were to continue running the country. The PM expected to be accused of wanting to extend his time in power. "If everybody wants me to stay on, I will do it. But you should help protect me from [criticisms] both outside and in the country. People will accuse me of wanting to extend my time in power. I don't want power and I don't gain any benefit. I just want to make the country better," Prayut said. Prayut's remarks came as a group of National Reform Council (NRC) members yesterday announced their plan to start a signature campaign to gauge public opinion on whether reforms should be completed before the next general election. (Source: The Nation)


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