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Update by Saichon Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
NEWS 

Police use tear gas to push back protesters

BANGKOK, Nov 24 -- Police used tear gas at an anti-government protest who began gathering Saturday at the Royal Plaza for a rally that was intended by the organiser to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

The incident occurred at around 8.50 am when a group of protesters were trying to walk to join the rally at the Royal Plaza organised by the so-called Pitak Siam group.

They could not reach the rally site because of barriers installed by police at Makhawan Rangsan Bridge so that they forced to open the way by removing the concrete block and tried to break through more than 20 companies of police blocking the way.

Both sides scuffled and police hurled tear gas to disperse the protesters, while the protesters responded by throwing water bottles at the police.

Police told protesters to use other routes to enter the Royal Plaza via Wat Benjamabopitr and the 1st Division King's Guard.

Some 132 people were reportedly detained by police while 10 were reportedly injured, mostly from tear gas, including four police officers.

Police spokesman Pol Maj Gen Piya Uthayo said that the police were forced to use tear gas because the protesters were trying to break through the barrier, and that the police have tried their best to avoid clashes.

Meanwhile, Pitak Siam leader Gen Boonlert Kaewprasit said the police actions against the protesters is considered "improper" as they are unarmed.

Gen Boonlert said his group needs about three hours to assess the situation whether the protest will be intensified or not and are waiting to see if more people will join the rally.

He claimed that those who planned to join the protest are now being blocked from entering the main rally site.

Gen Boonlert said about 1,400 security guards of the Pitak Siam group have been deployed around the rally venue under the supervision of Gen Natthachai Permsap, a leading Pitak Siam member, who will coordinate with police on security issues. (MCOT online news).


Chalerm warns again against the “third hand”

BANGKOK, Nov 23 - Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubumrung today repeated his earlier warning on a ‘third party’ infiltration in tomorrow’s massive rally by the anti-government Pitak Siam group in the heart of Thailand’s capital.

A police intelligence report reconfirmed a third party element which aims at instigate violence during the political rally, he said, adding that the declared enforcement of the Internal Security Act (ISA) was in response to a request by the authorities in charge of maintaining peace and public order during the demonstration.

Pitak Siam leader Gen Boonlert Kaewprasit, meanwhile, reassured that the rally will be peaceful without the use of arms or intrusions into nearby Parliament and Government House.

“We will tell the public about the government’s failure in its administration and widespread corruption,” he said, claiming that a large number of Thai people could no longer tolerate the present administration.

Pol Capt Chalerm assured that the ISA implementation will be immediately called off as demonstrators disperse while police will definitely refrain from exercising force and harsh measures in dealing with the rally.

“They have been reports that hard core protestors will arrest the prime minister, myself and seize Government House, and create violence before sneaking into hiding at nearby Sanam Suapa, Wat Benjamabopitr and important government buildings,” the deputy premier said.

He insisted that the government was not overly panicky in invoking the ISA and the international community understands the action which is in accord with universal standards.

Meanwhile, representatives of the independent Anti-Corruption Network and the Green Group submitted letters to the Office of the Ombudsman, calling for the Constitution Court to strip all cabinet members of their posts for unlawfully invoking the ICA despite the fact that the Pitak Siam’s rally hasn’t started. (MCOT online news)


Chiang Mai airport seeks scheduled release of festive lanterns

CHIANG MAI, Nov 23 – Chiang Mai Airport requested the public to release their traditional festive airborne lanterns at fixed hours to avoid negatively impacting aviation.

Woradej Harnprasert, Director-General of the Civil Aviation Department and Chiang Mai Airport management told a news conference at Chiang Mai Air Traffic Control Centre, asking for the public cooperation in launching the paper flame-bearing lanterns at requested hours during the Loy Krathong festival from November 27-29.

The launching of the lanterns is popular during the festival and helps promote tourism in this northern province.

As a result, for the safety of aircraft, the airport issued special hours for the lantern release from 6.30-7.30pm and after 9.30pm. Releasing lanterns near the airport is banned.

Seven airlines offering more than 30 daily flights have already adjusted their flight schedules after 6pm as some areas start celebrating with releasing lanterns. (MCOT online news)


Thais enthusiastically await King's Dec 5 appearance

BANGKOK, Nov 23 - A senior government official today called on the Thai people to join together in an auspicious event on Dec 5 when His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej will make a public appearance from the balcony of Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall, starting at 10am.

Dec 5 marks His Majesty's 85th birthday.

Tongthong Chandransu, permanent secretary of the Prime Minister's Office, said there will be an oath of allegiance to be taken by the Royal Guards on the same day.

Two rehearsals will be held on Nov 29 and Dec 2. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, the army commander in chief, the presidents of Thailand's courts and more than 2,000 military officers will join the Dec 2 rehearsal.

Mr Tongthong said gigantic LCD screens will be installed on both sides of Rajdamnern Avenue leading to the Royal Plaza and Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall to enable the crowd to clearly see HM the King and royal family members. (MCOT online news)


Chinese leader reiterates good relations with Thailand

BEIJING, 22 November 2012 (NNT) - Chinese correspondents have relayed comments from Chinese premier Wen Jaibao following his official visit to Thailand, saying the leader has assured that Thailand and China continue to enjoy a close friendship.

The China Daily reported that Premier Wen likened the close bilateral relationship between his country and Thailand to that of family members. He also highlighted the need for the two nations to maintain high-level exchanges and further promote coordination on regional affairs, in order to facilitate peace, stability and prosperity.

He was reported as saying that China was willing to make concerted efforts with Thailand in actively implementing a five-year project to boost trade and further cooperation in areas such as transportation, water management, agriculture and investment.

Other correspondents have also quoted Mr. Wen as saying that the two countries are strategic partners, whose strong ties have been reinforced by the support of the Thai royal family.


Senate shifts debate dates

BANGKOK, 22 November 2012 (NNT) – The Senate whip once again reset its debate schedule in Parliament, changing the timing of the sessions on November 23, 2012 and next Wednesday.

At a meeting yesterday, the Senate whips agreed to hold the first round of the debate tomorrow between 1pm and 8pm. The second round of debate will be held on Wednesday after the House of Representatives votes on an opposition censure motion following its own debate on the government's performance.

About 50-60 senators are expected to speak during the entirety of the debate.

The Senate whip stated that upper house members will focus on four issues during the debate; problems with the government's rice pledging scheme and projects to mortgage other crops, unrest in the deep South, water management issues and administrative concerns including tourism, education and drugs.

Several time schemes were declined by the government whips prior to yesterday’s decision. The latest plan has yet to be approved by the administration.
 


Court defers decision on Abhisit rank row challenge

BANGKOK, 22 November 2012 (NNT) – The Administrative Court has deferred a decision on whether to accept Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva's petition against Defense Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat's order stripping him of his military rank for judicial review.

After hearing arguments from Abhisit and Sukumpol for more than four hours yesterday, the court told them to submit more documents next week.

The case involves the defense minister's order revoking the former prime minister of his military rank and recalling his salary on the grounds that Abhisit used fraudulent documents to apply for and obtain a job as a lecturer at Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy.

Deputy chief of the Secretariat Department, Lieutenant General Pinit Chatsathienpong, who accompanied the defense minister to court, explained that the hearing was preliminary and the court wanted to consider more documents to decide if the case merits the court's intervention.
 


Pitak Siam pledges non-violent protest against government

BANGKOK, Nov 23 – Thailand’s anti-government Pitak Siam group reaffirmed that its rally tomorrow will be peaceful and more than 500,000 protesters are expected to turn up at the rally site.

Pitak Siam group spokesman Air Marshal Watchara Ritthakanee said the group’s rally at the Royal Plaza on Saturday and Sunday will be non-violent and that the movement will not move the crowd to Government House or Parliament.

Air Marshal Watchara however said as 500,000 people are expected to turn up at the Royal Plaza, the protesters may expand the rally to roads surrounding the rally site.

Meanwhile, police have stepped up security in and around Government House as the cabinet announced enforcement of the Internal Security Act (ISA) in three districts of Bangkok until next Friday.

Five roads were closed today ahead of the Saturday protest, paralysing traffic in the area. For their convenience, commuters have been advised to avoid the routes surrounding the rally site until the protest ends.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra entered Government House this morning to record her weekly televised address which will be aired tomorrow morning with secretary-general of the National Security Council Lt-Gen Paradon Phatthanathabutr and national police chief Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew, amid tight security. (MCOT online news)
 


Government forces nervously await 'D-Day'

BANGKOK, Nov 23 – Thailand's police and military have intensified order-keeping measures including enforcing the Internal Security Act (ISA) in Bangkok following intelligence reports that the anti-government political rally at the Royal Plaza tomorrow will possibly escalate and continue for several days, according to government officials.

Army commander Prayuth Chan-ocha said about 150 soldiers will support the police peace-keeping mission while National Police chief Adul Saengsingkaew said the government decided to implement the ISA after reports that the demonstrators may seal off government buildings and the rally may drag on.

Gen Prayuth said after a meeting at the Internal Security Operations Command that the situation may worsen and the army agreed to assign 150 military personnel to support the police.
The ISOC meeting agreed to set up Law and Order Administrative Centre, under the leadership of Pol Gen Adul, after receiving reports that the rally may turn violent. The centre consists of civilians, police, military and political appointees.

Gen Adul said special emergency centres wil be set up in three Bangkok vicinities, but that police will be the key agency keeping order during the rally which may take a few days.

Pol Maj Gen Piya Uthayo, national police spokesman, said the national police chief will today explain every step of the ISA enforcement including protection for the homes of prominent figures.

Pol Lt Gen Nares Nuntachote, First Police Region Commander, dispatched 12 companies, of police, 1,860 officers, to back up the police force in Bangkok. (MCOT online news)
 


PM says ISA enforcement aimed to provide safety for public Share on facebook

BANGKOK, Nov 23 -- Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Thursday explained that her government's decision to enforce the Internal Security Act (ISA) is aimed to ensure safety for the public during tomorrow's mass rally by Pitak Siam group.

Ms Yingluck, in a a televised address by TV Pool, said her Cabinet resolved to impose the ISA after intelligence reports indicated that the Pitak Siam rally is targeting the toppling of the democratically elected government in violation of the constitution.

She said public gatherings and protests are provided for and protected by the Constitution. But such public gatherings must be peaceful, without the use of weapons, and within the boundaries of the law.

If a large number of people is mobilised by incitement, led by those who seek to overthrow the elected government and democratic rule -- which is against the Constitution -- and there is evidence that violence may be used to achieve those ends, then it is a case of national security.

It is the government's duty to preserve law and order, protect the lives and property of everyone -- including those who are protesting and those who are not involved, the prime minister said in a recorded speech.

She said that the ISA would be enforced in three districts -- Phra Nakorn, Pom Prap Sattru Phai, and Dusit -- and involves setting up a "Law and Order Administrative Centre" under the command of the national police chief Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew. The ISA took effect yesterday, November 22 and will be in effect through next Friday, November 30.

The measures are meant to pre-empt and prevent any situations in a timely and effective manner, she said, adding that the measures will be discontinued as soon as the situation improves. (MCOT online news)


School closed after school director shot dead

PATTANI, Nov 23 - Tha Kamcham School in this southern border province is temporarily closed today after the school’s director was shot dead yesterday.

No students came to school Friday morning. Teachers and students are preparing to attend the Buddhist bathing ceremony rite for the dead teacher at a temple in Khok Pho district.

Wantana Kaewchan, 51, director of a school in this violence-plagued province in southern Thailand was shot dead in her car in a hail of gunfire in Nong Chik district, according to the authorities.

The Tha Kamcham School director was heading home in her car from school Thursday evening when a motorcycle approached, The driver shot at her.

Mrs Wantana was rushed to Nong Chik Hospital but she was pronounced dead on arrival.

Meanwhile, Boonsom Thongsriprai, chairman of the Teachers Federation of the three southern border provinces convened a meeting of school administrators and teachers in Nong Chik district to assess the situation and review security measures for teachers.

He expressed sorrow at the loss and asked security agencies to step up security plans to protect teachers in the district, considered risky zones.

The 4th Region Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) Deputy Spokesman Col Pramote Prom-in also expressed sorrow for a loss of the teacher’s life.

He condemned the killing as a cruel and inhumane action as teachers work to teach young people in order to create better society. All nations and religions give importance to education.

ISOC called on human rights bodies and the public to oppose all forms of violence, to protect teachers, education employees and the people and to bring peace to the southern border provinces. (MCOT online news)


Transport Co schedules more provincial buses at winter holidays

BANGKOK, Nov 23 – The state-run Transport Co will increase upcountry-bound buses from Bangkok by almost 25 per cent at the Dec 28-31 to cope with increasing numbers of New Year’s holiday travelers and family members returning home during the festive season, it was announced today.

Wuthichart Kalyanamitra, president of the Transport Co, said the normal 23,000-plus provincial buses scheduled on Dec 28-31 will be increased to more than 28,000 in order to serve a projected 752,000 passengers. Friday Dec 28 will likely be the peak outbound day while travelers will gradually return to Bangkok between Dec 31 and Jan 3.

Mr Wuthichart was reporting the situation to Deputy Transport Minister Prasert Janruang-thong who visited the Transport Co today to discuss additional service for bus commuters during next month’s New Year’s holiday period.

He expressed confidence that the increased bus service will be sufficient to serve outbound and inbound passengers who can book their tickets 60 days in advance through a 24-hour call centre number at Telephone 1490.

Mr Wuthichart said security will be boosted at the Transport Co’s central bus terminal at Chatuchak by installing 12 more closed-circuit cameras while security guards will be on duty at all bus terminals operated by the company.

Traffic police will set up alcohol and drug inspection units at bus terminals to check bus drivers before taking the wheel, he said. (MCOT online news)


Sea gypsies reunite amid unequal treatment

PHUKET, Nov 23 - Thailand's southern tourist town of Phuket has organised a sea gypsy 'reunion' to strengthen their network and maintain their tradition and culture, according to Phuket governor Maitri Intusut.

He said the event is primarily aimed at recognising them and their living difficulties and harassment by land developers who have encroached their habitats.

Sea gypsies--called Chao Le in Thailand--comprise three major ethnic groups: Moken, Moklen and Urak Lawoi. They speak different languages, share related cultures.

The sea gypsies have lived along the Andaman coast in southwestern Thailand for more than 300 years. In Thailand, about 12,000 of them are scattered in Phuket, Phang-nga, Satun, Trang and Krabi provinces.

Niran Yangpan, a sea gypsy from the tsunami victims and human rights network, said the three indigenous groups are encountering the same problem--encroachment on their land and the sea where they do fishing for their living.

About 600 sea gypsies have yet to get official ID cards and many are uneducated, Mr Niran said, expressing concern that their languages and cultures are disappearing. (MCOT online news)


Retired' Thai naval warship sunk as artificial reef

TRAT, Nov 23 - The Thai navy's HTMS Chang was sunk in the sea off Koh Chang in this eastern seaboard province as an artificial reef and diving attraction, according to the Royal Thai Navy.

Vice Adm Rungsak Serisawat, First Region Navy Commander, said the warship was lowered into the sea near Bangbao Bay on the south of Koh Chang on Thursday. The event was witnessed by government officials, Thai and foreign tourists and provincial residents.

HTMS Chang (the elephant) will become an artificial reef for marine life breeding and a diving attraction for tourists.

The vessel, built in the US in 1944, had served as a warship in the Asia-Pacific region during WW II. It was delivered to Thailand in 1962 and served the RTN for 43 years until 2005. (MCOT online news)


Med schools gear up for English exam

BANGKOK, 22 November 2012 (NNT) – As part of Thailand's preparations for the Asean Economic Community (AEC), which is set to launch by the end of 2015, medical specialists may need to conduct their licensing exams in English.

Consortium of Thai Medical School Secretary-General Arwut Srisukri, who oversees the syllabus of the country’s medical schools, said the move was part of efforts to prepare for competition in the labour market once the AEC goes into effect.

Under the proposal, which has yet to be approved, the written part of the Thai medical licensing exam will be presented in English. The clinical exam would continue to be conducted in Thai.

Dr Arwut said the professional body wants to ensure that doctors can measure up to potential foreign competition under the AEC which will usher in a free flow of skilled labour in many professions, including medicine in the region.


Bang Mod police launch patrol units on waterways

BANGKOK, 22 November 2012 (NNT) - Police in Bang Mod district are gearing up to launch patrol units along waterways in the area, in order to prevent crimes during Loy Krathong celebrations.

Bang Mod Station Superintendent Police Colonel Pornchai Kachornklin yesterday deployed 10 patrolling units consisting of local police officers and 50 volunteers at 11 canals in the area.

Reports of canal pirates looting residents’ homes have raised concerns at the Bang Mod station. Patrolling units have been dispatched each year for the past four years during the Loy Krathong festival, when citizens flock to waterways to engage in festivities. The units are set to conduct operations until December 31st.

Bang Mod police have also urged revelers to refrain from launching firecrackers and sky lanterns during the upcoming Loy Krathong festival, due to the possible fire hazard that they pose.


Chinese Premier granted audience with HM the King

BANGKOK, Nov 22 -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was granted an audience with His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej who said Mr Wen's visit to Thailand is important in deepening bilateral ties.

The Chinese premier paid a courtesy call on the 84-year-old King, the world's longest-reigning monarch, at Siriraj Hospital where he has been staying for nourishment to regain his strength since September 2009 when he was admitted with fever, fatigue and a lung inflammation.

During the meeting, HM the King said Mr Wen's visit to Thailand is a significant milestone in deepening bilateral ties. He expressed the hope that the two sides could step up cooperation in trade, agriculture, technology, water conservancy and railway, and promote people-to-people exchanges.

As for the technological cooperation, particularly the building of the planned high speed train line, HM the King said that the suitability of the location and environment should be taken to consideration as the most important factor was not the greatest speed of the train but the safety of the railway services.

Having no accidents would be the real benefit to the public, he added.

China’s Xinhua news agency quoted the Chinese premier as saying that the comprehensive strategic partnership for cooperation between the two countries is set to move forward and benefit the two peoples with the Thai royal family's support.

He added that HM the king and the royal family have made indispensable contributions to promoting friendship between the two nations.

Mr Wen earlier paid a courtesy call on Gen Prem Tinsulanonda, President of the Privy Council, Air Chief Marshal Siddhi Savetsila and Gen Surayud Chulanont, Privy Councilors. (MCOT online news)


Court asks for statements on draft-dodge claim

BANGKOK, 21 November 2012 (NNT) - The Administrative Court has summoned Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva and Defense Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat to give statements today over draft-dodging allegations against the former prime minister.

The court earlier decided that a petition submitted by Abhisit was incomplete and more information was needed from him and the head of the Ministry of Defense, which launched the probe into his draft-dodging allegations.

Former premier Abhisit sought the judicial intervention after Sukumpol issued an order stripping the opposition leader of his military rank and recalling his salary.

The order was based on evidence that Abhisit used a fraudulent document to apply for and obtain a job as a lecturer at Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy.

The Democrat head was told by the ministry to contest the findings on November 16 but opted instead to petition against the entire probe with the Administrative Court.


Department of Environment expresses concern on Bangkok trash

BANGKOK, 22 November 2012 (NNT) - The Environment Department has expressed concern over the amount of garbage in Bangkok, which has drastically increased from the same period of last year by a rate of 800 tons per day.

The department revealed that the main cause of the problem was last year’s flood crisis. During December of 2011, over 375-thousand tons of trash were collected, in a major increase from the average monthly amount of 250 to 280-thousand tons.

The agency pointed out that although several projects were launched to raise public awareness to help reduce the use of items such as plastic bags, the rising population of the Thai capital has contributed to an excess of household waste.

The department has urged Bangkok residents to use trash bins marked for recycling to help speed up the collection process and aid in the termination of city trash.


Six health institutes join forces to fight overweight problems

BANGKOK, Nov 22 - Six Thai health institutes have pledged to work together in collect and assess information and knowledge to fight obesity among the public.

Prof Dr Kriang Tangsanga, chief of the Royal College of Physicians of Thailand (RCPT), presided at the signing ceremony of the crackdown on obesity. The country’s medical curricula will be adjusted to promote understanding and responses to overweight problems.

Obesity is a silent threat to the Thai public’s health, he said. According to 2012 survey, 34 per cent of Thai adults faced overweight problems.

Twelve per cent of children under 12 years old and 16 per cent of children aged 12 to 14 years face similar problems.

In the overall picture, more than 16 million Thai people across the country are overweight.

Of this number, 48 per cent are persons of working age, and women.

The cooperation of health institutes will help tackle obesity in all age groups.

Six institutes are the Royal College of Physicians of Thailand (RCPT), the Royal Thai College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Royal College of Pediatricians of Thailand, the Royal College of Family Physicians of Thailand, Thailand Nursing and Midwifery Council and the Thai Health Promotion Foundation. (MCOT online news)
 


Government braces for parliamentary censure

BANGKOK, Nov 22 – Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra called a meeting of Pheu Thai party cabinet members to work out preparations for the no-confidence debate triggered by the opposition Democrat party.

The showdown is set to begin Sunday and carry on through Tuesday.

Prime Minister’s Office Minister Varathep Rattanakorn yesterday said the prime minister wanted all ministers, whether subject to the censure or not, to discuss the context of the debate and to prepare information to be explained to the House of Representatives.

He said Ms Yingluck is not worried by the debate but she wants ministers to give clear explanations to the House. She will be present during the parliamentary session.

Mr Varathep said the government will also be ready for the Senate non-voting debate, set for Friday from 1pm-8 pm and Wednesday from noon onward.

The premier asked every cabinet member to be present during the Senate debate, while she herself will appear in the Senate on Wednesday, the minister said.

Chief Government Whip Udomdej Ratanasathien called on cabinet members to give their clarifications during both the Lower House and Upper House debates to demonstrate that the government is not ignoring parliamentary procedure in the legislative branch.

He said the prime minister instructed all cabinet members to appear in Parliament, particularly Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom, Deputy Prime Minister/Education Minister Pongthep Thepkanchana and Deputy Commerce Minister Nattawut Saikua. (MCOT online news)
 


Internal Security Act needed to counter Saturday’s political rally

BANGKOK, Nov 22 – Thailand's Nationsl Security Council (NSC) is asking the government to enforce the Internal Security Act (ISA) in response to an anti-government rally Saturday whose sponsors claim their 'massive' gathering will bring down the administration of Yingluck Shinawatra.

An exercise of the ISA, earlier rejected by the authorities, signals the authorities’ nervousness regarding the scale of the political rally which they fear could be much greater than earlier expected.

The demonstration, organised by Pitak Siam leader and retired army officer Gen Boonlert Kaewprasit, will be held at the Royal Plaza but the crowd may spill over to nearby areas. The Royal Plaza is adjacent to Government House, Parliament and many state buildings.

Lt Gen Paradorn Pattanathabutr, secretary general of the National Security Council (NSC), said implementation of the law will be limited to 10 days in three vicinities: Dusit, Phra Nakhon and Pom Prap Sattru Pha. The three districts are in Bangkok’s old town area.

The NSC proposed using the Act during a meeting of security-related officers, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubumrung.

A small-scale cabinet meeting, presided over by Chalerm, is scheduled for today. The Royal Thai Police is expected to propose an enforcement of the ISA in the meeting.

Gen Paradorn said the ISA is to facilitate the authorities in keeping public order at buildings given an intelligence report of a potentially-escalating situation and much larger crowd than earlier predicted.

Under the ISA, the national police chief will be most powerful figure in keeping public order, said Gen Paradorn, adding that the ISA will be preventive, not suppressive, in its use.

The ISA implementation will be short lived while violence and the use of weapons will be avoided, he said. He confirmed that the army did not object to the ISA.

Mr Chalerm said satellites will be additional tools to keep vigilance on the demonstrators. (MCOT online news)


Cabinet OKs using Internal Security Act to counter Saturday’s rally

BANGKOK, Nov 22 – Thailand’s cabinet resolved today to apply the Internal Security Act (ISA) to counter an anti-government rally Saturday, according to a government official.

Minister to the Prime Minister's Office Varathep Ratanakorn announced the decision after a special meeting of nine ministers chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm
Yubumrung at Government House.

Mr Varathep said the move was in response to the coming anti-government rally led by the Pitak Siam group. The law will be enforced in three capital districts -- Dusit, Phra Nakhon and Pom Prap Sattru Phai -- with immediate effect from today through Nov 30.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has instructed security agencies concerned to apply the law prudently with people's rights and liberties being taken into account. Law enforcement must be in accordance with international standards, she said.

She also stated that the law must be revoked once the situation returns to normal, according to the minister.

The premier will appear on national television this evening to address the public and clarify the government's decision.

The cabinet decision came after the National Security Council (NSC) asked the government to enforce the ISA in response to the anti-government rally whose sponsors claim their 'massive' gathering will bring down the administration of Yingluck Shinawatra.

Exercising the ISA, earlier rejected by the authorities, signals the authorities’ nervousness regarding the scale of the political rally, which they fear could be much greater than earlier
expected.

The demonstration, organised by Pitak Siam leader and retired army officer Gen Boonlert Kaewprasit, will be held at the Royal Plaza but the crowd may spill over to nearby areas. The Royal Plaza is adjacent to Government House, Parliament and many state office buildings.

NSC secretary general Lt-Gen Paradorn Pattanathabutr said the ISA will help the authorities keep public order at buildings given an intelligence report of a potentially-escalating situation and much larger crowd than earlier predicted.

Under the ISA, the national police chief will be the central figure in maintaining public order, said Gen Paradorn, adding that the ISA will be preventive, not suppressive, in its use.(MCOT online news)


Thai King to officially appear in public on Dec 5 Share on facebook

BANGKOK, Nov 21 – His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej will make a public appearance at Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall in the Dusit Palace on Dec 5—his 85th birthday.

Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan of the Prime Minister’s Office today described it as a special occasion which will be publicised worldwide.

Tongthong Chandransu, permanent secretary of the PM’s Office, said the organising committee has been well prepared for the extraordinary event.

He referred to a massive turnout in 2006 when hundreds of thousands of people swarmed Rajdamnern Avenue to have a glimpse of Their Majesties the King and Queen appearing with Royal family members.

Dissathorn Vajarodaya, deputy secretary general of the Royal Household Bureau, called on Thai people to wear yellow—the King’s birthday colour—to pay homage to him during the royal appearance. (MCOT online news)


Celebration of World Soil Day in Honor of His Majesty the King

The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives will organize activities to celebrate World Soil Day, December 5, in honor of His Majesty the King, who is recognized as Humanitarian Soil Scientist.

The Cabinet, during its meeting on November 20, acknowledged the proposal by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives on the celebration of World Soil Day.

The Chairman of the International Union of Soil Sciences, Dr. Stephen Northcliff, in his audience with His Majesty the King on April 16 this year at Siriraj Hospital, presented the Humanitarian Soil Scientist award to His Majesty the King, honoring him as the first recipient of the award in the world for his dedication to soil resource management.

The 17th World Congress of Soil Science, held in Bangkok in August 2002, showed to the world at large His Majesty the King’s ingenuity in solving various soil problems and soil use to help in cultivation. His work has inspired many international soil scientists to follow and help develop further methods to improve sustainable soil management. The International Union of Soil Sciences made a resolution in 2002 to propose the 5th of December, the birthday of His Majesty, as World Soil Day to honor His Majesty the King of Thailand for his promotion of soil science and soil resource conservation.

Recognizing the crucial role of soils for food security and considering the enormous challenges for their sustainable management and protection, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) decided in June this year, for the first time, to celebrate World Soil Day in 2012, with the theme “Securing healthy soils for a food secure world,” and to advocate widely to place soils at the top of the development agenda worldwide. The annual celebration of World Soil Day aims to highlight the importance of soil to societies across the world and the need to use it on a sustainable basis.

In tackling soil degradation, for instance, His Majesty the King called for the use vetiver grass to stop soil erosion. His Majesty initiated the klaeng din project in the southern province of Narathiwat, where he found a solution to soil acidity. The theory of klaeng din is an innovative project for the first-ever application of technology to lessen soil acidity in swamp areas in tropical regions.

Literally meaning “playing a trick on soil,” klaeng din is a soil treatment process. It exemplifies His Majesty’s ingenuity as a true innovator, by integrating innovation in technology with proper management in order to solve the problem of soil acidity. This innovation has brought about soil fertility, enabling farmers to grow many plant species.
 


BMA brainstorms further use for Futsal Arena

BANGKOK, 21 November 2012 (NNT) - The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has begun looking into putting its recently built Futsal Arena to further use.

Deputy Permanent Secretary for the BMA Manit Techa-apichoke revealed yesterday that the BMA has ordered the Nongjok Futsal Arena’s contractor to complete construction by April of next year with a 180-day extension. He explained that last year’s flood crisis caused damage to the site and added 500 million baht to its cost, as well as delays to its completion.

Mr. Manit disclosed that once all 5 phases of the project are completed, the BMA’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism will take charge of the field. Management of the stadium is to be similar to that of Queen Sirikit Convention Center and the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre.

Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumband Paribatra has suggested that the venue be developed into a world center for martial arts, such as Muay Thai, taekwondo, and judo, so that it can be used to its greatest potential.


Thailand to host meeting on Mekong development

BANGKOK, 22 November 2012 (NNT) – Thailand has been given the honor of hosting the International Conference on Sustainable Development in the Lancang-Mekong Sub-Region next year, which will deal with natural-disaster management, development, and security in the Mekong River basin.

Deputy Government Spokesperson Pakdiharn Himathongkam said the event will be held in Chiang Mai province on January 13th and 14th. Foreign ministers from five Southeast Asian countries, including Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, will take part in the event along with China. A discussion between the participants will be hosted next month in preparation for the meeting.

The Mekong River is at the center of several major development projects in Southeast Asia, which has made cooperation between the countries through which it runs a major issue.

Separately, the Thai Cabinet has approved a proposal from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in 2022.


Decorations to be set up for HM the King

BBANGKOK, 22 November 2012 (NNT) - To mark the occasion of His Majesty the King’s 85th birthday, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has prepared decorations and pavilions for placement along Ratchadamnoen Road and other areas of the capital’s old quarter.

BMA’s Public Works Department Director Winai Limsakul said that on December 5th, Ratchadamnoen Road, Si Ayutthaya Road and Rama Five Road will be decorated with lights and large displays that will also be present on Arun Amarin Road, Pinklao Bridge and Siriraj Hospital. The displays have been slated to stay up until after the New Year’s celebration.

Mr. Winai added that 34 pavilions will also be erected in honour of the life and achievements of His Majesty the King. Officials are expected to complete work on the pavilions by December 1st.


Chinese premier begins official visit to Thailand

BANGKOK, Nov 21 -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has begun his official visit to Thailand this morning and will have an audience with His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej later today after meeting with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Mr Wen's tight schedule begins with Ms Yingluck in jointly presiding over the opening ceremony of the Chinese Cultural Centre on Thiamruammitr Road.

The center consists of a theater, an exhibition hall, a library, and classrooms to provide the public with Chinese cultural activities in Thailand, as well as training and information services.

It is designed to promote better understanding of Chinese culture, cultural exchanges, and friendship between the two countries.

Afterward an official welcoming ceremony will be held at Government House before a plenary meeting to discuss enhancing Thai-Chinese relations and cooperation.

Mr Wen and Ms Yingluck will witness the signing of bilateral pacts, including an Agreement on Educational Cooperation and exchanging the Instruments of Ratification of the Treaty on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons.

The two leaders will later hold a joint press conference.

Premier Wen will also pay a courtesy call on Privy Council President Gen Prem Tinsulanonda, Air Chief Marshal Siddhi Savetsila and Gen Surayud Chulanont, Privy Councilors, at the Privy Council Chambers.

Mr Wen will be granted an audience with His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej at Siriraj Hospital at 5pm before returning to China.

The visit by the Chinese premier will further strengthen bilateral relations between Thailand and China and enhance cooperation in all aspects under the framework of the Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership between Thailand and China. (MCOT online news)


Pheu Thai member seeks legal action against Pitak Siam group

BANGKOK, Nov 20 -- A member of Thailand’s ruling Pheu Thai Party has filed a complaint with the country’s Crime Suppression Division Police, seeking legal action against the anti-government Pitak Siam group leader.

Pheu Thai Party member Singthong Buachum on Tuesday met Crime Suppression Division Deputy Commander Pol Col Prasobchok Prommoon to file a complaint against Pitak Siam group leader retired Gen Boonlert Kaewprasit and his companions for rebellion and unlawful assembly in connection with the group’s mass rally at the Nang Lerng Turf Club on October 28.

Mr Singthong said it was believed that Pitak Siam's planned anti-government rally at the Royal Plaza this Saturday is a preparation to pitch rival groups against each other to create unrest.

Col Prasobchok said that the petition would be channelled in accordance with normal procedures and the police would give fair treatment to both sides.

Mr Singthong on Thursday petitioned the Constitution Court, asking it to order Gen Boonlert to call off his group’s planned mass rally in the capital.

He said the protest, which its leaders said is intended to oust the elected government, is unlawful and tantamount to being an attempt to topple the constitutional monarchy. (MCOT online news)


Anti-govt group leader targets 100,000 to join rally, or it’s meaningless

BANGKOK, Nov 20 – The stage is set. The crucial day is approaching. The man behind the political rally is keeping his fingers crossed, hoping to draw hundreds of thousands of demonstrators -- or he will call it quits.
Leader of the anti-government Pitak Siam group, retired Gen Boonlert Kaewprasit, said today that only tens of thousands of demonstrators in the Saturday rally at the Royal Plaza will be insufficient to “chase out” the government.
“We will need hundreds of thousands of people. If the crowd fully occupies the Royal Plaza and spills to the nearby Government House, it is insufficient. I will not carry on the rally,” he said. “The crowd must spread to Pan Fah bridge (on Ratchdamnern Avenue), and I will continue the activity.”
Assuring that the rally will not take longer than two days, Gen Boonlert said it will not be chaotic though the government has repeatedly said so since there will be security measures and guards at the rally site and the group has coordinated with the police to maintain public order.
He said the national security authorities’ estimation of 40,000-70,000 people in the rally was baseless.
“In our previous rally, their estimation was 10 times lower than the actual turnout. So, add it 10 times higher this Saturday,” he claimed.
Gen Boonlert said his understanding of “freezing Thailand” was to get rid of evil politicians but he had never wanted the opposition Democrat Party to take the helm of the country.
Pol Maj Gen Piya Uthayo, Royal Thai Police spokesman, said an intelligence report estimated over 50,000 demonstrators would appear at the Royal Plaza. He claimed that some are hired at Bt300-1,500 per person to travel by bus or train to join the rally.
They were told to prepare themselves for a few nights stay in the capital and bring with them umbrellas, goggles and vinegar (in case attacked by tear gas), he said.
Government deputy spokesman Pakdiharn Himathongkam said the cabinet was told today that some demonstrators will enter the capital from provinces such as Ratchaburi, Samut Songkram, Si Sa Ket and Surin.
About 5,000-8,000 police will guard Government House, he said. (MCOT online news)


Two soldiers, one villager wounded in Narathiwat’s bombing

NARATHIWAT, Nov 21 - Two soldiers and one villager were wounded in a Narathiwat ambush bombing of routine security patrol for teachers on Wednesday morning.

Eleven soldiers were patrolling the route in Rueso district when a roadside bomb exploded. Two privates and a 53-year-old man were wounded.

The bomb, triggered by a mobile phone, created a crater one foot deep and six feet wide. (MCOT online news)


Southbound train service back to normal

NARATHIWAT, Nov 21 – Trains bound for Thailand’s southernmost province of Yala resumed service Wednesday morning after a 300-metre stretch of tracks, badly damaged by Sunday’s bombing, was repaired.

The blast on the railway in Narathiwat's Rueso district killed three people and injured 16 others.

The first train leaving Hat Yai station reached Yala station at 8am to pick up passengers before moving on to Su-ngai Kolok, its final destination. The engine pulled 12 carriages, while two damaged carriages are under repair in Hat Yai.

A second rapid train from Su-ngai Kolok to Bangkok will be on schedule.

Stringent security measures have been imposed on some stretches of the railway and railway stations to ensure people’s safety.

From Narathiwat, train services to Su-ngai Kolok, Surat Thani and Nakhon Si Thammarat will be as usual from today.

Somsak Themsena, a teacher at Khok Yang school in Narathiwat, boarded a train at Tanyongmas station in Ra-ngae district. He admitted that the latest explosion has frightened him but he would continue using railway service due to the affordable prices. (MCOT online news)


Man nabbed for involvement in railway blast

NARATHIWAT, Nov 21 – A suspect has been arrested in connection with Sunday’s bombing of a southern railway which killed three people and injured 16 others, according to the Thai army.

Lt-Col Sutirapong Art-harn, commander of the Narathiwat 30 Special Task Force, said a suspect identified as Anwar Unu has been detained. He is the brother of Abdulloh Unu, a suspect with an outstanding arrest warrant in another security-related case.

Mr Anwar was detained yesterday under the Emergency Decree, he said.

Col Sutirapong said Mr Anwar had behaved suspiciously while frequently watching railway workers before the bomb blast which damaged a 300-metre section of the railway tracks and several carriages.

Train service in the South resumes today after being suspended to repair damaged railway track following Sunday's bombing.

Meanwhile, police and bomb experts in Narathiwat were sent to Toh Nae Ta village in Rueso district after residents found 150 metres of electrical wire and two small gas cylinders on a road.

The authorities said two homemade bombs, each weighing 25 kg, were ready to be detonated when they were defused. Police said they believed the bombs were targeting army patrols which travel the road every day. (MCOT online news)


Thai King grants audience to US president

BANGKOK, Nov 18 - His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej granted an audience to US President Barack Obama on his visit to Thailand Sunday, his first foreign trip after winning re-election earlier this month.

Photo Courtesy: http://www.facebook.com/infodivohm
The US president paid a courtesy call on the 84-year-old King, the world's longest-reigning monarch, at Siriraj Hospital where he has been staying for nourishment to regain his strength since September 2009 when he was admitted with fever, fatigue and a lung inflammation.

Obama later held talks with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra before a joint press conference and an official dinner at Government House.

Earlier Sunday, the US president visited Wat Pho Royal Monastery upon arrival. A monk gave him and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a private tour of the temple.

After Thailand, the US president will visit Myanmar and Cambodia to attend the 4th ASEAN-US Leaders' Meeting and the 7th East Asia summit. (MCOT online news)


Thailand, US agree to deepen partnership

BANGKOK, Nov 19 -- Thailand and United States have agreed to chart the way for a deeper bilateral strategic partnership and enhanced regional cooperation as Bangkok welcomed Washington’s policy of forging a stronger partnership with the Asia-Pacific region.

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Sunday welcomed the US President Barack Obama at Government House and held bilateral talks on a wide range of issues.

Both leaders later held a joint press conference in which Mr Obama reaffirmed the enduring US support for democracy in Thailand and welcomed the Thai government’s commitment to strengthening Thailand’s parliamentary democracy.

He emphasised that Thailand is America’s oldest treaty ally in Asia. The two leaders agreed that their alliance is rooted in a shared commitment to democracy, the rule of law, respect for both universal human rights and open societies, and a free market, which has bonded the people of the two nations closely together.

Thailand and the US will mark the anniversary of their 180 years of diplomatic relations in 2013.

The two leaders welcomed their continuing high-level and multidimensional dialogue, including the Fourth United States-Thailand Strategic Dialogue in June 2012, considered as the critical framework for shaping the agenda for United States-Thai relations.

Ms Yingluck welcomed the American’ policy of forging a stronger partnership with the Asia-Pacific region and US support for ASEAN centrality in regional development and integration, especially through Washington’s engagement in the ASEAN-US Summit and the East Asia Summit (EAS).

Mr Obama noted the growing importance of the EAS as an important regional forum for Asia-Pacific leaders to discuss political and strategic issues.

The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to working together to promote practical regional cooperation, including using other regional multilateral organisations such as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

The US President welcomed Thailand’s interest in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, which is subject to Thailand’s undertaking the necessary domestic procedures.

The two leaders looked forward to reconvening the TIFA Joint Council as an important step to strengthening our trade ties and consulting on the requirements for Thailand’s eventual participation in high-standard agreements, including the TPP. (MCOT online news)
 


ASEAN leaders adopt human rights declaration

PHNOM PENH, Nov 18 – Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, along with the other nine leaders, signed the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration at the 21st ASEAN Summit in Cambodia.
The three-day summit kicked off Sunday in Cambodia’s capital of Phnom Penh.

Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), adopted the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Right: AHRD to reflect ASEAN’s political commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights.

Thai prime minister said during the summit that ASEAN should focus on fighting transnational crimes and money laundering as well as expand cooperation in suppressing illegal drugs at the borders.

Regarding cooperation on disaster management, Ms Yingluck said Thailand is ready to co-host a disaster response drill with Korea.

Next year, Thailand will also host a meeting of the Greater Mekong Subregion and China to exchange views on water management.

As ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan’s five-year term will end in November, she said Thailand also supported the appointment of the new ASEAN secretary-general Le Luong Minh, the current vice-foreign minister of Vietnam to succeed Mr Surin.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Ms Yingluck returned to Bangkok Sunday evening to welcome visiting US president Barack Obama and will later return to the summit. (MCOT online news)


Thai PM to Attend ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh

BANGKOK, Nov 17 - Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is scheduled to attend the 21st ASEAN Summit and related meetings in Phnom Penh between November 18-20 and plans to raise the issue of transportation linkage for discussions.

The ASEAN Summit in the Cambodian capital will also allow ASEAN leaders to meet with key dialogue partners including China, Japan, South Korea, India, and the United States. In addition to the Summit, ASEAN Leaders will also attend the ASEAN Plus Three Summit and the East Asia Summit (EAS) during the three days.

The 21st summit under the theme "One Community, One Destiny" is aimed to follow up the framework earlier agreed upon by member countries as well as exchange view on various issues, including ASEAN Community building, which encompasses implementing the blueprints of the three pillars and the Master Plan on ASEAN connectivity, ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, and appointment of a new Secretary-General, who will succeed Dr Surin Pitsuwan whose term will be completed by the end of this year.

Ms Yingluck said that Thailand will raise the issues of transportation linkage and related laws, as well as safety for children and women for discussion at the ASEAN Summit, while trade and investment, and the Free Trade Agreement will be discussed with Dialogue Partners.

The Thai premier is scheduled to hold a bilateral talk with Myanmar President Thein Sein on the sidelines of the summit regarding trade and investment between the two neighbours, particularly the Dawei Deep Sea Port project development.

Ms Yingluck will also hold bilateral talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, seeking to jointly develop the main highway linking Thailand, Myanmar and India as well as boost cooperation with India on science and technology, medical sector and education. (MCOT online news)


One more railway bomb victim dead.

NARATHIWAT, Nov 19 – One more victim of Sunday’s railway bomb in Narathiwat was pronounced dead at hospital, raising the death toll to three.

A Yala-Sungai Kolok passenger train was bombed Sunday morning. Thirty five people were wounded and out of this number, fifteen persons were severely wounded.

The latest victim, Prasarn Chatree, was a defence volunteer.

Maj-Gen Phisit Sitthisarn, head of a special unit in Narathiwat, visited six victims at the hospital and gave them some assistance money.

He said the police are tracking down those responsible and that security is being stepped up to prevent a repeated incident.

Meanwhile, Thanongsak Pongprasert, head of southern train office said it is expected to spend a day Monday to salvage derailed train carriages. He was unable to say when service will resume.

It depends in part on the morale of railway workers and officers, he said.

All southbound trains can run to Yala station, but passengers wanting to travel further South, must transfer to vans or buses. (MCOT online news)
 


Blood reserves run out; Thai Red Cross asks public for urgent blood donations

BANGKOK, Nov 15 - The Thai Red Cross Society announced that its National Blood Centre lacks supplies in all blood groups for patients, and is asking the public for urgent blood donations.

National Blood Centre director Dr Soisaang Pikulsod said the volume of blood donated declined to 1,200 units since early November, but the number of blood requests for patients in hospitals nationwide is as high as 5,000 units.

She said at least 1,500-2,000 units of blood are required on a daily average for patients, and there must be blood reserves of at least 3,000 units per day, according to standards.

Dr Soisaang said the quantity of blood requests in over 120 hospitals in Bangkok, its vicinity and nearby provinces have doubled to 5,000 units per day, while only 1,400 units can be provided to them by the National Blood Centre.

Prospective donors can visit the centre directly in Bangkok's Henri Dunant Road on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays from 8am-4.30pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7.30am-7pm, and on weekends and public holidays from 8.30am-3.30pm, or call 0 2256 4300, 0 2263 9600-99, ext. 1101 for more information. (MCOT online news)
 


Thailand’s northeast faces severe, prolonged drought

NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Nov 15 - Drought is spreading into wider areas of the northeast, reflected by Nakhon Ratchasima and Nakhon Phanom declaring added disaster areas as fear mounts that the situation may be prolonged.

Nakhon Ratchasima disaster response chief Piyachat Insawang said the drought has spread into wider areas in the province.

Four districts were earlier declared disaster areas, including Bua Yai, Prathai, Ban Lueam and Lam Thamenchai.

On Thursday, Governor Winai Buapradit announced four more districts as disaster zones including Non Daeng, Non Sung, Bua Lai and Sida.

The drought has affected 52 sub-districts in eight districts with nearly 35,000 households. Almost 450,000 rai (some 180,000 acres or 72,000 hectares) of agricultural land is hard hit.

The provincial authorities are providing assistance to residents as the governor has approved a Bt50 million fund to help the affected people.

In Nakhon Phanom, as the drought worsened in many areas, local authorities have drilled more water wells to provide ground water to ease the problem.

The provincial Royal Irrigation Department office urged farmers to refrain from growing off-season rice as the water level in the reservoir was only half of its capacity.

It was expected that the drought would continue for months as there has been no rain for four months.

Nakhon Phanom disaster services director Jureerat Thep-ard said the province has declared six of its 12 districts as disaster areas. (MCOT online news)


Bangkok to host Asian Mayors Forum

BANGKOK, Nov 15 – Thailand’s capital Bangkok will host the third Asian Mayors Forum (AMF) later this month to support the exchange of experiences, opinions in making the cooperative network between Bangkok and other cities of Asia.

The third meeting is scheduled at the Plaza Athenee Hotel from Nov 27-30 under the theme “Local Governance: Urban Initiatives for Progress and Justice”.

About one hundred leaders and executives from AMF member cities are expected to attend the meeting with a total number of about 300 participants.

“It is a forum for Asian cities to exchange experiences and views on responding to city problems and to learn from one another as Asian cities have similar ways of life and problems”, Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra told a news conference at Bangkok City Hall on Thursday.

The governor said the problems shared by Asian cities are difficulties of access to public health, medical treatment, proper housing, and pollution.

The Asian Mayors Forum (AMF) was established by the assembly of cities in Asia in order to strengthen the economic, social, science, cultural and technological aspects for coping with changes in the globalised world.

The first Asian Mayors Forum took place in Tehran in 2008 and it was agreed to meet every two years. The second meeting took place in Istanbul.

The AMF is a good opportunity for Bangkok to show its capacity to host large-scale international conferences as Bangkok is due to hold the third ASEM Mayors and Governors Meeting to be attended by about 40 member countries in the next two years, the governor said.

The first and the second meetings were hosted by Jakarta in 2010 and Berlin in 2012. (MCOT online news)


Six Thais in China-based call centre scam extradited to Thailand

BANGKOK, Nov 16 - Six Thai nationals suspected as scammers in a China-based call centre syndicate have been extradited for prosecution in Thailand.

Economic Crime Division police have returned from China with six suspects in a call centre scam who were arrested there in a joint Thai and Chinese police operation two months ago.

The Guangdong-based syndicate lured Thai victims in Thailand to transfer funds to China that caused losses of more than 20 million baht.

Police said gang members tried to convince victims that they were in debt from credit cards, or they masqueraded as officials of the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) or the Bank of Thailand (BoT).

The suspects told police that the ringleaders were Taiwanese. They said they received 3 per cent of the money that could taken from the victims. (MCOT online news)
 


More shops open for Friday trade in Narathiwat

NARATHIWAT, Nov 16 - More shops have opened for trade despite the insurgents' threat of possible harm to those ignoring their clandestine warnings in this southernmost province Friday amid tight security.

Combined teams of military, police and local government administrators are now deployed in Tanyongmas municipality, particularly at its fresh market as more shops opened for trade today.

Col Chalermchai Suthinuan, commander of Ranger Forces Regiment 45 in Rangae district, said the cooperating agencies are speeding up boosting confidence of residents regarding tightened security measures after Friday trade went quiet last month following threats of insurgent attacks against those who traded on that day of the week, the Muslim holy day of obligatory public worship.

The military officer said pro-active measures have been implemented by many parties to restore confidence there as soon as possible. (MCOT online news)


100 kilos marijuana seized in Nakhon Phanom

NAKHON PHANOM, Nov 16 – One hundred kilogrammes of marijuana were seized Thursday on the Mekong River in this northeastern province, bordering Laos.

Capt Surasak Suwan-arsa, commanding a naval patrol unit on the Mekong River in the northeastern province of Nakhon Phanom said in a news conference on the seizure of 101 kg of marijuana on the Mekong riverside in Ban Phaeng district.

The confiscated drugs are worth an estimated two million baht at street value.

The patrol unit found suspicious men with some unidentified goods in a long-tailed boat, arriving at the pier. The suspects escaped and the police seized the drugs.

It is presumed that the drugs were being transited from nearby Laos to an agent in Thailand.

Capt Surasak said he ordered routine patrols to keep an eye on drug smuggling. (MCOT online news)


Joint Thai-US military partnership signed

BANGKOK, Nov 16 – Thailand and the US have finally signed a joint vision statement for a new defence alliance between the two countries.

Thai defence minister Sukumpol Suwanatat said after the signing ceremony with his US counterpart Leon E. Panetta that the 2012 Joint VIsion Statement for the Thai-US Defence Alliance focuses on a partnership for security in Southeast Asia, promotion of stability in the Asia-Pacific region, strengthening of efficiency in bilateral and multilateral operations, and development of cooperation on all levels.

He ruled out any discussion on the highly-criticised request by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to use Thailand’s U-tapao airport in Sattahip for its atmospheric studies.

NASA made the request once but cancelled its plan in June when the government could not make a decision in time for the mission.

ACM Sukumpol added that Myanmar has been invited to observe the Thai-US Cobra Gold joint military exercise next year after a proposal from Thailand. (MCOT online news)
 


Police will use crowd-control plan to cope with anti-govt rally

BANGKOK, Nov 15 - Metropolitan Police Bureau chief Pol Lt-Gen Kamronwit Thoopkrachang said today a crowd-control plan dubbed 'Korakot 52' will be used to handle the anti-government rally led by the Pitak Siam group in the city on Nov 24.

Gen Kamronwit said he was not worried about the planned demonstration as retired Gen Boonlert Kaewprasith, the Pitak Siam group leader, earlier pledged that it would be a peaceful gathering.

The metropolitan police chief stated the public could rest assured that the situation would not spiral out of control.of the police.

Gen Kamronwit's assurance came after Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubumrung said United Nations representatives and international media will be invited to witness the Thai police’s peace-keeping measures during the Nov 24 political rally.

He said the government will leave crowd control to the Royal Thai Police, under the leadership of national police chief Adul Saengsingkaew, to single-handedly control the situation.

He repeated his concern on the possibility of “third party” involvement in the political activity and instigating violence and disorder.

The deputy premier will meeting with the Royal Thai Police today to discuss their preparations for the rally.

“We must deploy a large number of police to avoid confrontation among disputing groups. The government, however, finds it unnecessary to enforce any special legal measures to cope with the rally,” he added.

He quoted an intelligence report as saying that the demonstration will be supported by four groups of financiers. (MCOT online news)


Pheu Thai member seeks court order to stop anti-government rally

BANGKOK, Nov 15 – A sole member of the ruling Pheu Thai Party is seeking a Constitution Court order to thwart the planned anti-government rally led by the Pitak Siam group set for Nov 24.

Party member Singthong Buachum and his lawyer submitted the petition to Constitution Court deputy secretary-general Panya Udchachon asking the court to order Pitak Siam leader Gen Boonlert Kaewprasit to call off its planned mass rally in the Thai capital.

Mr Singthong argued that the protest, which its leaders said was aimed to oust the elected government, was unlawful and tantamount to an attempt to topple the constitutional monarchy.

Mr Panya said the court will verify all documents and forward them to the Constitution Court president and court judges. He said the consideration should be finished soon as the issue is in the public eye.

Meanwhile, Metropolitan Police Bureau deputy chief Pol Lt-Gen Parinya Chansuriya said a crowd-control plan dubbed 'Korakot 52' will be used to handle the anti-government rally led by Pitak Siam on Nov 24.

Gen Parinya said 50 companies of police will be deployed to maintain security at the rally site, Royal Plaza, Government House, Parliament and government buildings to prevent any intrusion and disorder set off by a third party.

Gen Parinya said the rally is expected to be peaceful and would not be prolonged, but it will affect traffic in the area as about 50,000 persons, many of them from upcountry, are expected. (MCOT online news)


Thailand's Internal Security Act slated for Nov 24 political rally

BANGKOK, Nov 16 – As a political rally by the anti-Thai government Pitak Siam movement draws closer, police in the capital have moved to enforce the Internal Security Act to nip it in the bud.

The mass rally will be held on Nov 24 as planned but police want to activate the act to take full control of the situation. Approval will be sought from the cabinet next week.

National police chief Adul Saengsingkaew said the act will be implemented in specific areas prior to the demonstration. There was no decision on the duration of the enforcement.

Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubumrung said police have been instructed to be lenient in dealing with the demonstrators.

Pol Gen Adul said police will work closely with various ministries: interior, justice, transport, public health and the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO). (MCOT online news)
 


Thai authorities jittery as anti-government rally nears

BANGKOK, Nov 16 - Security agencies concerned about the upcoming Pitak Siam anti-government rally will meet Monday at Government House in a meeting to be chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubumrung as the Nov 24 protest date draws nearer.

Secretary general Paradorn Pattanathabutr of the National Security Council (NSC) said today that the meeting will evaluate the scale of the rally and crowd-control measures to deal with the demonstrators, initially estimated at 50,000-60,000 people.

Police will exercise the Korakot Plan in handling the crowd, he said. The plan gives detailed guidelines for taking demonstrators into custody -- from bare-handed arrests, using handcuffs, tear gas and more. It clearly assigns responsibilities to specific officers to control the crowd.

Lt-Gen Paradorn said it has yet to be decided whether the National Security Act will be imposed during the political action, adding that it will mainly depend on the size of the crowd.

He said safety measures will be reinforced in areas near the demonstration, the Royal Plaza, including checks for weapons to prevent a third party from infiltrating the rally.

Security officials spoke with retired Gen Boonlert Kaewprasit, the Pitak Siam leader, who promised to closely supervise the crowd and to maintain order.

Opposition Red Shirt supporters have been instructed to not demonstrate in response and to otherwise avoid confrontation, he said. (MCOT online news)


Democrats put defence minister in hot seat

BANGKOK, Nov 16 – The opposition Democrat Party today officially called on the Thai parliament to strip Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat of his ministerial post for abusing his power.

Democrat MP Pusadee Tamthai submitted a letter, endorsed by 153 MPs, to Senate Speaker Nikom Wairatpanich seeking ACM Sukumpol’s dismissal for malfeasance and breach of the law in issuing an unlawful order to strip Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva of his acting sub-lieutenant rank.

The defence minister is not authorised to strip the rank of a person who is no longer in state service, the letter states, adding that Adm Sukumpol intentionally and hurriedly wanted to cause damage to Mr Abhisit given an earlier announcement in the Pheu Thai party that Mr Abhisit would be stripped of his rank by the end of October.

The Democrats related Adm Sukumpol’s maneouvring to its planned no-confidence debate against the government.

The parliament spokesman said he would check the authenticity of the 153 signatures before submitting the letter to the National Anti-Corruption Commission. (MCOT online news)
 


Cold weather coming, but rain hasn’t gone

BANGKOK, Nov 15 – Heavy rain is expected to hit a number of provinces between Bangkok and the South later today and into the weekend according to the weather bureau.

The upper southern provinces along the Gulf of Thailand, particularly Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon and Surat Thani, will have rain due to a depression from the South China Sea, according to the Meteorological Department.

Somchai Baimuang, deputy director general of the Meteorological Department, said the depression will move through Vietnam peninsular towards the Gulf of Thailand tomorrow and several southern provinces, will get wet from today to Sunday.

Rainfall may be heavy in some areas, and flooding is possible, Mr Somchai said, predicting the maximum rainfall at over 90mm—seen as "very heavy."

There will also be rain in the lower northeast, central and eastern regions which will add water in the reservoirs.

Cold breezes will cover upper Thailand on Saturday when temperatures in the North and Northeast will drop by 2-4 degrees Celsius and winds will be stronger.

Bangkokians are advised that the capital will get showers for six days from today through Tuesday.

The depression is unlikely to develop into a tropical storm. (MCOT online news)


Thailand, United Kingdom push bilateral ‘Strategic Dialogue’

LONDON, Nov 15 -- Thailand and UK have agreed to push forward their establishment of a ‘Strategic Dialogue’ as a mechanism for high-level bilateral discussion to follow up and set directions of mutual cooperation in various dimensions in the future.

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who is on official visit to the United Kingdom, on Wednesday held bilateral talks with her British counterpart David Cameron to exchange views on various matters of mutual interest, bilaterally, regionally and globally.

They agreed to intensify efforts to elevate the already excellent state of their relations to an even higher plain.

Both leaders have agreed to the establishment of a ‘Strategic Dialogue’ as a high-level, consultative forum to set and monitor the future direction for their bilateral cooperation in all areas.

This new mechanism will also serve as a concrete platform for both sides to exchange views on regional and multilateral issues and will be convened on a regular basis between high- ranking officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom.

The two prime ministers also welcomed increasing two-way trade and investment, highlighted by the long-established presence and active role of the British private sector in Thailand which has made a significant contribution to this growth, making the UK Thailand’s second largest trading partner.

They agreed to work together to share expertise and best practice in flood prevention, and to this end the UK offered to fund four senior Thai officials to attend a flood risk management course at Cranfield University.

The two leaders also agreed to promote further people-to-people contacts between their two countries. To this end, the Thai prime minister stressed Thailand’s commitment to ensuring safety and hospitality for foreign tourists. To facilitate a greater volume of exchanges, the British premier announced that from December 1, student applicants will be able to access the priority visa service, which is already available to Thai business people and general visitors. (MCOT online news)


Army chief: Ending southern crisis ‘an uphill task’

YALA, Nov 14 – Thailand’s army chief today claimed improvements have been made in the southern security situation, but made no promise for an early solution.

The general situation in insurgency-plagued southern Thailand has improved but a return to normality and total safety for residents is not easy and will take time, Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha said today.

In the sensitive province to be updated on the latest assessment of the situation in the Muslim-predominant deep South, Gen Prayuth said some southern residents chose to support the anti-government insurgents either out of ignorance or in fear for their own safety if they don’t.

He was briefed by several security agencies including the Yala special task force, border patrol police unit and Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre.

Gen Prayuth also discussed preparations for a planned visit by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra who will inaugurate a bridge connecting Highway No 410 with Banglang Reservoir in Yala’s Than To district next Thursday.

He said a short-term solution to the southern crisis has been carried out and authorities are launching the mid-term plan which should last 1-3 years while the long-term solution will take longer than five years.

It’s a multi-dimensional strategy which integrates over 100 plans from various government agencies and has been approved by the government, he said. (MCOT online news)


52 pangolins saved from wildlife trafficking syndicate

NONG KHAI, Nov 14 -- Police in Thailand’s northeastern province of Nong Khai on Wednesday rescued 52 endangered pangolins from a syndicate of wildlife smugglers and arrested two suspects.

Nong Khai Provincial Police Commander Pol Maj-Gen Somyot Promnim led investigators to intercept a truck bearing a Bangkok registration plate while it was on Mitrapap Road, heading to Nong Khai.

At the back of the truck, police found 52 of the scaly ant-eaters, contained in 12 plastic boxes, with total weight of 267 kilogrammes.

The police detained two suspects--Rungrueng Intalang, 42, and Channarong Songsukhon, 33.

The two men told police that a village leader in Loei's Nong Hin district introduced them to a Lao national who hired them to transport a truckload pangolins from a service station in Nakhon Ratchasima for delivery to a customer in Nong Khai's Rattanawapi district.

They said this was the fourth batch of the endangered animal species that they had carried.

Pangolin scales and pangolin flesh are in high demand in Vietnam and China as medicine although their international trade is banned.

The smuggling and sale of pangolins is prohibited under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES. (MCOT online news)


Thai diabetes sufferers may rise to 4 million-plus in 8 years

BANGKOK, Nov 14 - Thailand's Public Health Ministry forecasts the number of Thai diabetes patients will nearly triple to more than 4 million in the next eight years, with about 52,800 patients dying of the disease on average annually.

November 14 is World Diabetes Day. To mark the occasion, Deputy Public Health Minister Cholanan Srikaew said this year's slogan campaign is 'Diabetes: Protect Our Future', focusing on giving knowledge and raising awareness of the disease among the youth and the public.

The Public Health Ministry last year found 1.5 million Thais with diabetes out of 22.2 million people age 35 and over. Among the 1.5 million patients, about 270,000, or 18 per cent, had complications such as kidney failure, and impaired eyesight from cataracts and glaucoma.

A growing number of Thai children are being diagnosed with diabetes, due to obesity, over-consumption of sugar and too little physical exercise-- unless there is effective disease prevention.

The deputy minister warned that the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) predicted that patients with diabetes from age 20 to 79 worldwide will increase to 438 million in 2030, up from 285 million in 2010.

Four out of five patients will be Asian, and mainly found in Southeast Asia, while there will also be patients less than 14 years of age in future. (MCOT online news)


US shifts focus to the Asia-Pacific region amid its rivalry with China

U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Bangkok this week, along with U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. BANGKOK, 14 November 2012 (NNT) - President Obama is scheduled to arrive in Bangkok next Sunday. A thorough security check was held on November 12, 2012 at Government House by the U.S. Secret Service.
Security at the compound is expected to include snipers stationed buildings around the Government House, as well as closures on Phitsanulok and Rama 5 Road. Mr. Obama is expected to hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra when she returns from her visit to the U.K.
Mr. Panetta is expected to meet Defense Minister Air Chief Marshal Sukampol Suwannatat to review the 2012 Joint Vision Statement of the Thai-U.S. Defense Alliance. The agreement is considered part of Thailand’s bid to become a major non-NATO ally.
While the U.S. Embassy has not issued a schedule for the U.S. president’s visit, Secretary-General to the Prime Minister’s Office, Suranand Vejjajiva, made known that he has requested a royal audience for Mr. Obama with His Majesty the King.


Cleft lip disorder, rice projects get B40m

BANGKOK, 13 November 2012 (NNT) - Two scientists from Chulalongkorn University and Kasetsart University have been granted a total of 40 million baht for stem cell research into helping people with cleft lip and cleft palate disorders, and for improving the Kingdom’s rice strains.

The National Science and Technology Development Agency approved the funding of 20 million baht each for Prasit Pavasant, head of the Mineralized Tissue Research Unit of Chulalongkorn University's dentistry faculty for the stem cell project and to Apichart Vanavichit, head of Kasetsart University's mutated rice development efforts.

Dr Prasit said his study into dental stem cells for bone and periodontium tissue engineering is aimed at curing patients who have cleft lip or cleft palate. He said stem cells from a patient's teeth can be used to repair the bone causing the abnormality.

For rice strain development, Apichart said his team is looking to create sustainable varieties of rice such as water-resistant rice which can help crops withstand flooding and provide higher levels of iron.


Thailand and the United States to Sign the 2012 Joint Vision Statement for the Thai-U.S. Defense Alliance

Thailand and the United States will sign the 2012 Joint Vision Statement for the Thai-U.S. Defense Alliance. Preparations are now underway for the visit of President Barack Obama to Thailand.

The Cabinet, during its meeting on November 12, assigned the Ministry of Defense to work out the joint vision statement. The Minister of Defense will represent the Thai government in signing the document.

The Cabinet was told that the joint vision statement would focus on Thai-US strategic partnership to strengthen security in Southeast Asia, enhance stability in the Asia-Pacific region, develop capacity-building in joint operations at both bilateral and multilateral levels, and promote relations and cooperation at all levels.

Thailand and the United States have underscored the importance of strengthening the alliance as a true 21st century partnership that aims to promote a peaceful, secure, and prosperous region and contribute to global stability.

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will visit Thailand on November 15 and 16 and sign the Joint Vision Statement for the Thai-U.S. Defense Alliance with Defense Minister Air Chief Marshal Sukumpol Suwanatat.

In the recent defense strategic talks between Thailand and the United States, both sides reaffirmed the importance of bilateral and multilateral Interoperability and readiness, especially through world-class military exercises, sales of defense equipment and services, and continuing military education and exchange programs. They also undertook to continue work on defense modernization to sustain high levels of interoperability which allow for advanced Thai-US operations and exercises.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama will travel to Thailand, Myanmar, and Cambodia from November 17 to 20. He will pay an official visit to Thailand on November 18 and 19. The visit is to mark 180 years of diplomatic relations and reaffirm the strength of Thai-US alliance.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is scheduled to visit Cambodia on November 17-20 for the ASEAN Summit. However, after attending the opening ceremony of the summit in the morning of November 18, the Prime Minister will return to Bangkok to personally welcome President Obama. After that she will go back to Phnom Penh for the ASEAN Summit and related meetings, hosted by Cambodia on November 18-20 at the Peace Palace.

Mr. Obama will visit Myanmar before flying to Cambodia for the ASEAN Summit and related meetings and to meet the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. During his interactions in the region he will discuss a broad range of issues, such as economic prosperity and job creation through increased trade and partnerships, energy and security cooperation and human rights.


Thai PM seeking Thai, UK business opportunities

LONDON, Nov 14 -- Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is meeting her British counterpart David Cameron today for a trade-focused discussion on business opportunities between the two countries.

Ms Yingluck, on an official visit to the United Kingdom which began Monday and ends later today, said that she would meet the British premier to discuss increased mutual cooperation on tourism, trade and investment, and to upgrade strategic partnership relations.

The Thai premier said she wants more ways to conduct and facilitate trade and investment as she sees more growth to come.

She will use the opportunity to explain Thailand's water management plan resulting from last year’s devastating flood year to build confidence among British businesspeople.

Ms Yingluck said that during the talks, she will ask the United Kingdom to reduce red tape in visa applications for Thai citizens wanting to travel for business and study. She said Thailand has already eased the visa application process and issuing business licences to help British businesses to invest in Thailand.

The two premiers were scheduled to announce a joint statement of intent establishing a ‘Strategic Dialogue’ as a mechanism for high-level bilateral discussion to follow up and set directions of mutual cooperation in the future.

On Tuesday, Ms Yingluck was granted an audience by HM Queen Elizabeth II and extended her wishes on behalf of the Thai government and Thai people for the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's accession to the throne, her diamond jubilee.

Ms Yingluck later gave a keynote address under the topic of “Thailand: Unparalleled Opportunities” during a luncheon meeting with executives from leading British companies.

The luncheon was meant to inform Britain’s business community of investment opportunities in ASEAN, and to strengthen mutual relations and networks between the private sectors of the two countries.

The Thai premier also visited St. Pancras railway station to observe London’s high speed railroad system. (MCOT online news)


Reinforcement at Parliament as crucial days approach

BANGKOK, Nov 14 - Deployment of 300 police officers at Parliament is taking place and more closed-circuit television cameras are being installed to brace for possible protests and a rally during the coming parliamentary no-confidence debate, a senior official said today.

Lower House deputy speaker Charoen Chankomol said security measures will be reinforced from Monday and emergency exits will be specially provided at the rear of the Parliament compound in case the entrance is blocked by demonstrators.

A no-confidence debate against Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and three members of her cabinet is set to take place Nov 25-26 to be followed by a vote Nov 27.

Political activists of the anti-government Pitak Siam group vowed to rally at the nearby Royal Plaza on Nov 24 and the possibility of the demonstration dragging on was not ruled out.

Mr Charoen said apart from 300 police assigned to Parliament, police will also be deployed at major locations outside the compound including the Royal Plaza, Dusit Zoo and three main roads around Parliament.

All tents in front of Parliament will be removed, he said, noting that it was unnecessary to request military personnel to cope with the situation.

First Metropolitan Police Commander Vicharnvat Borirakkul said police are almost 100 per cent prepared for their mission. (MCOT online news)


President of Uganda visits Thailand

BANGKOK, Nov 14 – Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni will officially visit Thailand Thursday through Saturday to enhance the cordial relations already existing between the two nations.

A welcoming ceremony will be held at Government House Friday, when Mr Museveni is scheduled to meet with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra for bilateral talks.

Topics of discussion will include varied mutual and regional issues, especially trade, investment and technical cooperation. Ms Yingluck will host a welcoming dinner to honour the president and his delegation at the Santi Maitri Building.

During his visit, Mr Museveni and a group of leading Ugandan businesspersons will meet potential Thai investors from various areas. They will visit major Thai industry facilities to explore mutual trade and investment opportunities.

Uganda's leader has visited Thailand twice before -- in 2003 on a private visit and in 2004 to attend the 15th World AIDS Conference.

This is the first official visit of a head of state and head of the Government of Uganda since Thailand and Uganda established diplomatic relations in 1985.

The visit reflects the cordial ties existing between the two countries, as well as the importance that Thailand attaches to strengthening its relationship with African countries within the South-South cooperation framework.

It provides an excellent opportunity for Thailand and Uganda to expand cooperation in various areas, both at bilateral and multilateral levels, as well as to promote better understanding at the people-to-people level for the mutual benefit of the two countries.

Mr Museveni has been president of Uganda since 1986, having won four elections -- in 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011. (MCOT online news)


Brits ask DSI to testify on Comstrac Co

BANGKOK, 14 November 2012 (NNT) -The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has been asked by police in the United Kingdom to testify against a British company accused of providing Thailand with useless bomb detectors.

The case involves Comstrac Company Limited, which has been accused of fraud in connection with the manufacture, promotion and sale of GT200 and Alpha 6 bomb detecting equipment.

Director of the Security Crime Bureau Police Lieutenant Colonel Pong-in Intarakhao, said British police have asked the DSI to testify about the false technology and the damage it has caused to the country. A hearing has been tentatively scheduled between March and April next year.

Pong-in revealed the request after yesterday meeting with British police responsible for the case.

He noted that none of the countries which bought the device have filed a complaint against the company.

City of London Police's Overseas Anti-Corruption Unit has charged six Britons with fraud in connection with the manufacture, promotion and sale of the device to foreign jurisdictions between January 2007 and July 2012.


Dems named in supplies scam

BANGKOK, 14 November 2012 (NNT) -The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has implicated a former Democrat minister and deputy minister in the scandal-plagued procurement program for vocational schools.

Former education minister Chinnaworn Boonyakiat and former deputy education minister Narisara Chawaltanpipat are among four people who have been implicated in a DSI probe into the 5.3-billion-baht scheme to procure learning equipment.

The other two people are Jiang Wongsawatsuriya, director of policy and planning under the Office of the Vocational Education Commission and Bamrung Aramruong, the director of Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya Technical College. The DSI alleges the four were found to have breached Section 157 of the Criminal Code and the Prime Minister's Office's regulations on procurement.

DSI chief Tarit Pengdith said the probe has uncovered five different irregularities in the procurement scheme, including the appointment of close aides to the procurement committee, the purchase of education supplies at inflated prices, and price collusion.

Meanwhile, Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva has made known he will file a petition asking the National Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate Defense Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat’s order to dismiss him retroactively from military service. Abhisit believes the defense minister’s actions are tantamount to an abuse of power.


Thailand’s significant temple needs urgent restoration

NAKHON SI THAMMARAT, Nov 14 – The golden spire atop the majestic chedi, or pagoda, at Wat Phra Mahathat, is the high point of one of Thailand’s most revered Buddhist temples, is deteriorating and needs urgent restoration, according to a Thai government Fine Arts Department official.

Wat Phra Mahathat has been on a UNESCO waiting list to be recognized as a World Heritage sites.

The Thai public have been eagerly waiting for the good news though it will be a long process before an announcement is made.

Anat Bumrungwong, director of the Nakhon Si Thammarat fine arts bureau, said agency workers technical staff are assessing the condition of the golden pinnacle.

A zoomed closeup photo of the spire found a rust-like solution leaking from the cone-shaped peak, he said, adding that the damage could be similar to a previous problem of deteriorating plaster 20 years ago.

Fine arts specialists are thoroughly checking its condition to determine if the gold substance overlaying the structure remains intact.

An urgent report has been submitted to the Fine Arts Department in Bangkok so that a group of artisans will be formed to tackle the restoration work. (MCOT online news)


Thailand, US to strengthen defence alliance

BANGKOK, Nov 13 – Thailand and the US will discuss an adjustment in military cooperation between the two countries to cope with new menacing challenges in Southeast Asia, according to Thai defence ministry spokesman Thanathip Sawangsaeng.
US Secretary of Defence Leon E Panetta and his team will visit Thailand on Thursday and Friday during which they will pay a courtesy call on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and hold talks with Thai Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat.

The Thai and US defence teams will meet on Thursday to discuss bilateral military cooperation for the stability and security of the Asia-Pacific region.

Col Thanathip said other issues set for discussion include the Thai-US defence alliance, peace-keeping operations, operations for off-shore stability, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and efficient preparedness for bilateral and multilateral operations in order to strengthen the relationship and cooperation on every level. (MCOT online news)


Living conditions of Thailand’s indigenous sea people in jeopardy

RANONG, Nov 12 – An increasing number of land developers have encroached the habitats of the Moken ethnic community, the so-called sea gypsies in this southern Thai province on the Andaman Sea, a provincial official said Monday.

Viroj Saengsivarith, deputy governor of Ranong, expressed concern for the plight of the indigenous Moken and Urak Lawoi peoples who have lived on various islands including Lau, Sinhai, Payam and Chang.

According to an initial report, he said, about seven rai of land on Lau Island inhabited by the seafaring people have been taken over by land developers, and Land Department officials have been instructed to find out if they were granted permission to legally occupy the land.

The tsunami which struck southern Thailand in 2004 has changed the sea gypsies’ way of life though the impact was not as severe as in neighbouring Phuket, Phang-nga and Krabi provinces.

Jirasak Boonsong, an official of the Public Organisation -- private body assisting the seafaring people in Ranong, said Moken are stateless people not entitled to any legal rights.

He called on the government to allow the sea gypsies to live in a provided settlement, which could be called a special cultural zone, to protect them from external encroachment.

Sidit Pramongkit, chief of the Moken dwellers on Lau island, said 201 Moken people, 39 families, currently live on the Lau, Payam and Chang Islands. (MCOT online news)


Thailand, US to endorse defence cooperation during Obama visit

BANGKOK, Nov 12 - Thailand and the United States will sign a joint statement on military cooperation during the upcoming visit to Bangkok by President Barack Obama, a Thai government spokesman said today.

The cabinet approved the 2012 Joint Vision Statement for the Thai-US Defence Alliance which will be officially signed by the defence ministers of the two countries.

Deputy government spokesman Pakdiharn Himathongkam said the statement will focus on Thai-US partnership on security in Southeast Asia, stability in the Asia-Pacific region, development of capability and preparedness in bilateral and multilateral operations, and cooperation on every aspect.

In the meantime, US security and diplomatic officials met with Thai officials and discussed preparations and security measures for President Obama’s visit which also marks the 180th anniversary of Thai-US relations.

Mr Obama will visit Myanmar before attending the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia. He is scheduled to arrive in Bangkok on Sunday. (MCOT online news)


Thailand shows enthusiasm in world forum on the blind

BANGKOK, Nov 13 – Thailand will disseminate its knowledge in online libraries and the skill of Thai massage to the blind worldwide at an international meeting which was launched here on Monday.

Monthian Buntan, a member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, said that Thai delegates will announce the country’s “TAB-Telephony 1414” technology giving the blind access to information.

TAB-Telephony 1414, an online library adapted from call centre and audio library concepts, will be presented as a gift to the blind in other countries by the Thailand Association of the Blind, Mr Monthian said.

He said that Thailand will promote the success of Thai traditional massage among the blind who have earned their living from the occupation as a career option.

The Thailand Association of the Blind, in cooperation with two other leading organisations for the blind, also announced their move to innovatively upgrade the quality of life of the unsighted and those who are otherwise disabled.

The announcement was made in two simultaneous meetings in Bangkok: the 8th General Assembly of the World Blind Union (WBU) and the International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI).

Mr Monthian, the only blind senator in Thailand, chairs the WBU-ICEVI organising committee.

The forum is attended by participants from 120 countries. Issues being discussed in the meeting include care of the disabled when tsunamis struck Haiti and Japan, the right to read for Argentinian blind people, and the US as a world leader in reading technology.

Quoting a report of the World Health Organisation, Maryanne Diamond, chairman of the World Blind Union, said the blind and visually-impaired population throughout the world is 285 million, and the major task of the general assembly of the World Blind Union in Bangkok is to discuss proactive moves to upgrade the quality of life for those who have no eyesight.

She cited projects on the right to read, the right to work, and a handbook containing the United Nations’ proclamation on the rights of the disabled.

She also announced the “Tandem Ride” project which pairs normal and blind persons on two-seat bicycle journeys through 12 European and eight African countries, covering a distance of 2,500 kilometres.

It will open the world of the blind and allow them to learn new things on their journeys, Ms Diamond said. (MCOT online news)


South Korean President returns home from Thailand visit

BANGKOK, Nov 11 - South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak and his spouse left on Sunday Bangkok after a three-day official visit to Thailand.

The South Korean President visited Thailand as the guest of the Thai government from November 9-11.

The two leaders held bilateral talks and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to boost strategic partnership between the two countries. South Korea supports Thailand's efforts to be a hub of transportation for ASEAN countries and transportation projects, particularly Dawei deep sea port.

The two leaders were satisfied with mutual agreement related to politics, economy, and science. It targeted increasing skyrocketing trade value to US$30 billion in the next five years.

During his visit, the president paid his respects at the Monument of the Korean War Veterans at the 21st Infantry Regiment in Chonburi province to commemorate Thai soldiers participating in the Korean War in 1950.

The visit will be his first official visit to Thailand as President of the Republic of Korea. His previous visits to Thailand were to participate in the 12th ASEAN-ROK Summit, the 12th ASEAN Plus Three Summit and the 4th East Asia Summit (EAS) in Cha-am Hua Hin in October 2009. (MCOT online news)
 


US President to officially visit Thailand next week

BANGKOK, Nov 9 -- Newly re-elected US President Barack Obama will officially visit Thailand November 18-19, becoming the first US leader to visit the kingdom in four years, according to Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Manasvi Srisodapol.

Mr Manasvi, Department of Information Director General, said that Mr Obama will arrive Sunday and will meet Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to discuss bilateral and multilateral issues in which both countries have interest.
Details are being arranged by officials of both countries', and will be officially announced next week.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said the visit will be the first in four years, since former President George W Bush visited Thailand in 2008.
Mr Surapong said that apart from Mr Obama’s visit, Thailand is welcoming South Korean president Lee Myung-Bak who is visiting Thailand today and tomorrow.
Mr Lee is the first South Korean president to make an official visit to Thailand in 31 years.
Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao will visit Bangkok Nov 20-22, the first visit to Thailand by a Chinese premier in 10 years. (MCOT online news)


PM gives priority to foreign policy particularly overseas visits: Deputy PM

BANGKOK, Nov 10 -- Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul has affirmed that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has given priority to foreign policy, particularly with visits to foreign countries, to build confidence on Thai economy and strengthen bilateral ties.
Mr Surapong, standing in for PM's weekly TV programme, "The Yingluck Government Meets the People," reported the ministry's performance during the past year, where the Yingluck government has attended to foreign policy, particularly with visits to foreign countries and participation in international conferences and meetings.
He said the premier has made some 17 overseas trips and has taken these opportunities to strengthen bilateral relations and clarify that Thai political development has returned to normalcy.
The prime minister has also built confidence among the international community regarding the Thai economy and invited foreign businesspeople to invest in Thailand, said the deputy prime minister.
During such trips, he said, Ms Yingluck has also clarified the situation in the southernmost provinces to Muslim nations.
Mr Surapong said that it was a good prospect that many foreign leaders have planned to visit Thailand, particularly US President Barack Obama who would officially visit Thailand on November 18.
Mr Surapong said that aside from Mr Obama’s visit, Thailand is welcoming South Korean president Lee Myung-Bak.
Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao will also visit Bangkok Nov 20-22, the first visit to Thailand by a Chinese premier in 10 years. (MCOT online news)
 


Anti-govt group to stage new rally Nov 24

BANGKOK, Nov 10 - The anti-government Pitak Siam group will rally again at the Royal Plaza on November 24, targeting to draw as many as one million protesters to unseat the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
The movement led by Gen Boonlert Kaewprasit and former foreign minister Sqn Ldr Prasong Soonsiri have met at the office of Royal Turf Club on Saturday to discuss further moves on an anti-government rally.
Gen Boonlert told reporters after the meeting that the second mass rally would be held on November 24 at 9.01am but the venue has changed from Bangkok’s Royal Turf Club to the Royal Plaza.
The retired general said the Royal Turf Club was a closed area so the rally could put no pressure on the government.
He said the demonstration would not be prolonged as he did not want the gathering to affect the general public. He said the final decision would rely on the situation but he believed the rally would be no longer than two days and one night.
He indicated that the rally may be the final one, whether the government resigns or not.
Gen Boonlert had earlier pledged he would cancel the demonstration if the target of one million participants could not be achieved. (MCOT online news)


Rosewood smugglers arrested in border province of Nong Khai

NONG KHAI, Nov 12 – Four alleged smugglers, two Thais and two Lao nationals, were arrested in Thailand’s northeastern province of Nong Khai with exotic Siamese Rosewood in two pickup trucks.
Provincial forest protection unit head Rasamee Nanthan in Nong Khai and local police confiscated three planks of Siamese rosewood 40 centimetres wide, 13 cm thick and two metres long each, worth more than Bt400,000 in total.
Called payung locally, Siamese Rosewood is known scientifically as Dalbergia cochinchinensis and its trade is carefully monitored.
Four smugglers confessed they were transporting the wood to cross the Mekong River to sell. (MCOT online news)


Thai students win 2 gold medals at World Robotic Olympiad

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 12- Thai students clinched two gold, one silver, and one bronze medals at the World Robotic Olympiad 2012, held in Kuala Lumpur.
Over 100 Thai students from 29 teams joined the competition.
Thai team Aladeen Scratch from Chiang Mai University earned the highest score in the regular college category and carried home a gold medal.
The other gold medal for Thailand was received from the secondary school level. Langkhao, a team from Chaiyaphum Pakdichumpol School from the northern province of Chaiyaphum.
Thai team got the same highest score as the South Korea’s team but the Thai team won for competing the task in shorter time.
For the football playing robot category under 18 year olds, Thai team, RBT-Sentinel from St.Gabriel's College won a silver medal and the RBT-Zadent team also from St. Gabriel’s College won a bronze medal.
Thailand ranked second after host Malaysia, which won two gold, two silver and eight bronze medals. Next year’s competition will be held in Russia. (MCOT online news)


Reaching the World' summit to raise public awareness of literature

The S.E.A.Write Award, in collaboration with Asia Pacific Writers & Translators Association (AP Writers), and the Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, recently staged for the first time in Bangkok an international writers’ and translators’ forum entitled "Reaching the World"
Activities included a series of talks, panel discussions, and author showcases, participated in by renowned writers and translators from some 22 countries.

Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra hosted the event with a poetry reading session by some renowned ASEAN poets including Dr Edwin Thumboo, a leading Singaporean poet and the 1979 inaugural S.E.A. Write awardee, and Thailand's 2010 S.E.A. Write awardee Zakariya Amataya.

Deputy Dean for International Affairs of Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Arts Assoc Prof Surapeepan Chatraporn said the event was named 'Reaching the World', for it was the first international summit for writers, poets, translators, and also publishers from ASEAN and the Asia-Pacific region, where they could express their ideas and share their opinions in order to enhance the literary climate in Bangkok, while it was to create better understanding among people of these countries.

Deputy Dean Surapeepan said the forum was aimed to bring larger numbers of people to awareness that literature was part of life.

"It is life and soul in itself, and people need to see this aesthetic aspect of life to uplift their spirits," she said.

With the imminent coming of the ASEAN Community, the deputy dean said she thinks Thai people are still at a great disadvantage regarding use of the English language, as they don't speak English as much and don't use English as much, and there are few Thais as literate in English compared to other countries, such as Malaysia, the Philippines, and Myanmar.

She pointed out some obstacles faced in preparation for the event was that qualified translators were scarce to beautify writers' valuable works to be known internationally.

Nonetheless, somehow she said Thai writers and poets are no fewer and no less significant than those from other nations, but language barriers remain a big problem. Thais have to try to overcome these barriers, she said. (MCOT online news)


PM asserts cabinet reshuffle won't disrupt government action

BANGKOK, Nov 3 -- Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Saturday asserted that the latest cabinet reshuffle won't disrupt her government’s policy implementation, saying that the administration has focused on policy rather than personnel.

Ms Yingluck, on her weekly TV programme "The Yingluck Government Meets the People" said she decided to reshuffle the cabinet due to the resignation of two ministers -- Yongyuth Wichaidit as deputy prime minister/interior minister and Theera Wongsamut as agriculture and cooperatives minister.

She said the reshuffle involved 23 cabinet ministers but most of them were already working in the cabinet, but only changed their responsibilities.

The premier, therefore, said she was confident the work would run smoothly with continuity as policy was more significant than personnel.

Ms Yingluck said that she would oversee the security matters herself while measures to solve the southern violence problems would be driven by a new committee under the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre (SBPAC).

Work in the areas would be the responsibility of the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) and SBPAC, she added.


PTT organises Thai chess competition

BANGKOK, Nov 2 – Thailand’s PTT energy conglomerate is hosting a Thai chess competition from today through Sunday at Siam Paragon to preserve the traditional Thai version of the classic Asian game, complete with trophies and cash awards totaling 500,000 baht.

Formerly a state enterprise known as the Petroleum Authority of Thailand, the company is listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

Pailin Chuchottaworn, PTT president and CEO, said that in addition to fostering energy security, the company underscores its responsibility to society, communities and environment and to preserve art and culture.

As a result, it is hosting the first Thai chess competition, categorised into three groups – youth, general public and teams.

An exhibition, traditional Thai singing, and a human chess performance are being held at the event.

Interested people can follow the event at www.lovemakrukthai.com, Facebook and Twitter at lovemakrukthai.


Army chief: prolonged southern violence not linked to military budget

BANGKOK, Oct 31 - Thai army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha on Wednesday dismissed allegations the the southern insurgency is continuing unabated because the army wants a large military budget.

The army chief said no one benefits from the loss of the lives of others, and that the Bt3-4 billion budget allocated for security operations in the South is not worth the loss of life.

Gen Prayuth said he has already invited journalists who criticised army operations to discuss creating better understanding on the situation in the southern border provinces after their groundless articles accused the army of failing to solve the problem and want to prolong the violence there in order to get large budgets.

More than 5,000 victims--local residents, security forces, Buddhist monks and Muslim religious leaders, as well as insurgents--have been killed since violence erupted in the restive southern provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat in 2004.

Regarding policy to resolve far South problems after Gen Yuthasak Sasiprapa, who oversaw national security was removed from the deputy prime ministerial post, the army chief said it depends on how the government selects Gen Yuthasak’s successor.

He said currently the Internal Security operations Command (ISOC) and the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre (SBPAC) are the main agencies to implement government policies in the region.

As Gen Yuthasak had also chaired the newly-established Committee to Mobilise Policy and Strategy to Solve Problems in the Southern Border Provinces, Gen Prayuth said as there is no chairperson during this period, the prime minister can convene a meeting of agencies or appoint any deputy premier to chair the meeting.

'As the committee cannot operate yet, the ISOC and SBPAC must work more and cooperate with 17 ministries," the army chief stated. (MCOT online news)


Yingluck 3 cabinet to take oath before king Thursday

BANGKOK, Oct 31 – Thailand’s new cabinet is scheduled to take an oath of allegiance in an audience with His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej on Thursday, according to Interior Minister Jarupong Ruangsuwan.

The newly-appointed minister said the ceremony will take place at 5pm tomorrow. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will later assign tasks to the new deputy premiers and other ministers.

Following concerns expressed regarding the qualifications of the new Minister to the Prime Minister's Office Varathep Rattanakorn, Mr Jarupong said although Mr Varathep was convicted for malfeasance in violation of Article 157 of the Criminal Code in the two- and three-digit lottery case, his jail term has been suspended as he has no criminal record.

Mr Jarupong said this can be considered that Mr Warathep is qualified for the post as he has never been in jail.

Thursday’s oath of allegiance ceremony was set after His Majesty the King on Sunday endorsed the cabinet reshuffle proposed by Prime Minister Yingluck.

The major cabinet shake-up involved 23 cabinet seats with new ministers from members of the so-called House No. 111 or former executives of the disbanded Thai Rak Thai party, while some ministers have been promoted or transferred to other ministries. (MCOT online news)


Two suspected insurgents killed clash with Yala police

YALA, Nov 1 – Two suspected insurgents, including a local leader, were killed here yesterday, shot dead in a security operation in which two police officers were wounded in this southern province.

More than 100 police officers raided an remote area of Raman district after receiving a tip that suspected insurgent leader Mana Masaejuenarong, age 35, was hiding there, plotting a new attack.

After one hour of gunfire between officials and insurgents at an unnumbered house in rural Raman, Abdulrorse Dengsamae, 56, surrendered to the police.

The two suspects killed were identified as the reported leader, Mr Mana, and Usaman Waree. An M16 assault rifle and a 9mm pistol were found near their bodies.

Mr Mana was a Narathiwat native with outstanding arrest warrants issued for security cases.

He was alleged to have been involved in many insurgent attacks, including the killing of three Army Rangers, and wounding other a number of soldiers in shooting attacks.

The wounded police officers, both shot in the leg, are hospitalised and in stable condition. (MCOT online news)


Anti-gov’t group leader to report to police

BANGKOK, Nov 1 - The main leader of the anti-government Pitak Siam group Gen Boonlert Kaewprasit said Wednesday he stands ready to report to the authorities if he receives the summons issued in his name on charges of inciting rebellion and coup.

Crime Suppression Division police issued a summons to the retired general and to Sondhi Limthongkul, a co-leader of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), the yellow shirt movement, asking both to acknowledge charges of inciting rebellion and coup by next Wednesday.

Gen Boonlert said he has not yet received the summons but said that he would report to police investigators as soon as he received it.

Both summonses were issued after a lawyer representing the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) asked the police to take legal action against Mr Sondhi and Gen Boonlert for inciting rebellion and coup. The lawyer also submitted recordings of the Pitak Siam rally on Sunday and reports about the protest on the internet and in the media as evidence.

Gen Boonlert repeated his announcement that the next rally could be held within three weeks or a month from the first gathering. The next rally is expected to draw more participants than the first, which he claimed attracted as many as 20,000 supporters, although police estimated a lower number. (MCOT online news)


2012 November 24

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Back to Main Page

Police use tear gas to push back protesters

Chalerm warns again against the “third hand”

Chiang Mai airport seeks scheduled release of festive lanterns

Thais enthusiastically await King's Dec 5 appearance

Chinese leader reiterates good relations with Thailand

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Government braces for parliamentary censure

Internal Security Act needed to counter Saturday’s political rally

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Thai King to officially appear in public on Dec 5 Share on facebook

Celebration of World Soil Day in Honor of His Majesty the King

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Decorations to be set up for HM the King

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Anti-govt group leader targets 100,000 to join rally, or it’s meaningless

Two soldiers, one villager wounded in Narathiwat’s bombing

Southbound train service back to normal

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Thai King grants audience to US president

Thailand, US agree to deepen partnership

ASEAN leaders adopt human rights declaration

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Blood reserves run out; Thai Red Cross asks public for urgent blood donations

Thailand’s northeast faces severe, prolonged drought

Bangkok to host Asian Mayors Forum

Six Thais in China-based call centre scam extradited to Thailand

More shops open for Friday trade in Narathiwat

100 kilos marijuana seized in Nakhon Phanom

Joint Thai-US military partnership signed

Police will use crowd-control plan to cope with anti-govt rally

Pheu Thai member seeks court order to stop anti-government rally

Thailand's Internal Security Act slated for Nov 24 political rally

Thai authorities jittery as anti-government rally nears

Democrats put defence minister in hot seat

Cold weather coming, but rain hasn’t gone

Thailand, United Kingdom push bilateral ‘Strategic Dialogue’

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52 pangolins saved from wildlife trafficking syndicate

Thai diabetes sufferers may rise to 4 million-plus in 8 years

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Thailand and the United States to Sign the 2012 Joint Vision Statement for the Thai-U.S. Defense Alliance

Thai PM seeking Thai, UK business opportunities

Reinforcement at Parliament as crucial days approach

President of Uganda visits Thailand

Brits ask DSI to testify on Comstrac Co

Dems named in supplies scam

Thailand’s significant temple needs urgent restoration

Thailand, US to strengthen defence alliance

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Thailand shows enthusiasm in world forum on the blind

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PM gives priority to foreign policy particularly overseas visits: Deputy PM

Anti-govt group to stage new rally Nov 24

Rosewood smugglers arrested in border province of Nong Khai

Thai students win 2 gold medals at World Robotic Olympiad

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PTT organises Thai chess competition

Army chief: prolonged southern violence not linked to military budget

Yingluck 3 cabinet to take oath before king Thursday

Two suspected insurgents killed clash with Yala police

Anti-gov’t group leader to report to police



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