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Thailand Live Monday 20 Sep 2010


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Thailand Live Monday 20 September 2010

News, Bits and Tweets

with webfact

Keep up to date with live updates from the news, hour by hour.

For breaking news,national, regional and international news updates on

a daily basis only, this thread is closed to commentary so that those

who wish to follow the news can find it here...

Commentary is still open for Thailand news in the relevant thread posted in News Clippings.

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Related topic: Thailand Live Saturday 19 September 2010

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Pheu Thai exposes new power’s coup bid

BANGKOK (NNT) -- The opposition Pheu Thai Party has disclosed that a group of military leaders and politicians are trying to intervene in the Thai politics by inciting terror in order to orchestrate another coup d’état.

Pheu Thai Party Spokesperson Prompong Nopparit revealed that a group of military leaders and politicians known as “the new power”, is engineering a coup attempt. He said the group is trying to incite unrest incidents and chaos in a bid to seize the power and rule the country.

Mr Prompong then called for their patriotism and asked them to stop instigating violence to harm the country for its own political gains.

The spokesperson believed that if there was another coup, people would come out in opposition. He said Pheu Thai Party was of the opinion that anyone longing for power must obtain it through the democratic rules only.

Upon the fourth anniversary of the 19 Sep coup d’état and four months after the military cordoning operation, Mr Prompong demanded that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva should investigate all related incidents and prevent repetition of such tragedies in Thailand.

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-- NNT 2010-09-20 footer_n.gif

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Kasit: Thai-Cambodian PMs to meet in US

BANGKOK (NNT) -- Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen will have a bilateral session to solve prevailing diplomatic rows upon their visit to the US to attend the UN General Assembly.

Speaking prior to his departure to the US on Saturday night, Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya announced that a dialogue between the Thai and Cambodian Prime Ministers would be arranged to clear all the problems and enhance peace between the two countries.

The Minister said both Thailand and Cambodia have clearly indicated their intention to establish mutual cooperation in the future. They are also aware of their commitments made to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Mr Kasit said he hoped that the upcoming bilateral session would be successful.

Mr Kasit noted that at present the Thai side is working on the contents for discussion, expected to include various points of misunderstanding between the two countries.

Prime Ministers Abhisit and Hun Sen as well as other ASEAN leaders will attend the second ASEAN-US Leaders’ Meeting in New York on 24 September 2010. All the ten ASEAN leaders will meet with US President Barack Obama to discuss many regional and global issues.

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-- NNT 2010-09-20 footer_n.gif

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Kasit to brief global community on Thailand’s situation

BANGKOK (NNT) -- Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya will explain the situation in Thailand with the international community upon his visit to the US from 19 September to 1 October 2010 to attend the UN General Assembly.

Speaking prior to his departure on Saturday night, the Minister stated that he would hold several dialogue sessions with his counterparts from various countries, during which he would brief them on the situation in Thailand and thank them for the support and understanding.

In the dialogue sessions, Mr Kasit stated that he would highlight democratic practices of the incumbent Government, its economic performances, and the ability of the country to move forward despite internal political problems.

The Minister added that he would meet with leading US business executives and enhance further economic co-operation, especially the Free Trade Agreement and Map Ta Phut issues. He said the concerns of the US for Thailand did not rest on political problems but on intellectual property rights.

As for his mission in the UN General Assembly, Mr Kasit elaborated that many global issues would be revised from politics, security, society, economy, to development.

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EDUCATION

Kids in far south enjoy 'new way' to lean Thai

By Wannapa Khaopa

The Nation

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Teachers use mother tongue first and gradually teach more Thai

More than 100 school students in the deep South whose mother tongue is the local Malay dialect are happy with their Thai language study.

Their feeling differs from other students who had difficult first steps learning Thai - a language they had not used in their daily life before.

Thanks to Mahidol University (MU), students at four pilot schools can enjoy an easier way to study Thai.

"After almost 30 years of my teaching, the students in the bilingual education project are the most satisfied group - they have done very well in studying Thai," said Tuanyoh Nisani, a teacher in the kindergarten second year at Ban Prajan School in Pattani.

"They are obviously different from others I've taught. They better understand Thai. They are more intimate with me. They look happier when studying. They dare to express their creative thinking and imagination because of no language obstruction," Tuanyoh said.

The student's progress has proven the wisdom of moves over three years by Prof Suwilai Premsrirat, chairwoman of the Centre for Document-ation and Revitalisation of Endangered Languages and Culture, at MU's Institute for Languages and Culture of Asia, and her team to improve the Thai study by students who speak the local Malay dialect or Melayu in those state schools.

Suwilai introduced new teaching techniques to schools in Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Satun, including Ban Prajan, so students could learn Thai in an easier, gradual way. Her work and research on bilingual education has helped these students.

"The project can help the students study Thai more happily," she said.

"I've trained teachers at the four schools in the new teaching methods before letting them apply them with their kindergarten students.

"Instead of a main use of Thai as communication language, teachers speak to them mainly in their dialect, but the students start to study Thai language through its alphabet. The teachers have them use Thai characters to spell words of the dialect they speak.

"It helps them get familiar with Thai. The teachers later try to speak some easy Thai words and have them spell them. So, the students learn Thai words gradually. It's good for their language adjustment. After finishing their kindergarten level when they reach Prathom 1 (Grade 1), they can write Thai words in textbooks. The use of the dialect will be dropped while their use of Thai language will be raised when they study higher grades," she said.

Normally, students learn Thai in a way that hinders or shocks pupils used to speaking southern dialects. They cannot speak Thai because most people around them don't speak Thai. But they are forced to seriously learn our language at most state schools. Teachers mainly communicate and teach students in Thai. The result is pupils' learning and imagination is blocked because of difficulties with the new language, according to Suwilai and Ban Prajan School director Waemasanah Saedeng.

This school and many others in the deep South have faced this language problem for years.

Waemasanah said: "It's really hard for them to understand science in Thai because there are lots of abstract words and even communication in Thai in their daily life is difficult for them. So, they don't understand and don't dare ask teachers using a language they're not used to."

After applying the techniques at her school, Waemasanah said fewer students were skipping classes when compared to older students forced to learn Thai "the old way".

Waemasanah and Tuanyoh said parents were also happier with their children's Thai language study. They want the project to continue. Both quoted parents saying that they liked reading and writing. They had seen their children try to read Thai words on advertising boards on the roads they travelled along.

The first group to learn Thai with the new method was 120 kindergarten students, 28 of them at Ban Prajan. They are now in Prathom 1.

Waemasanah said the school had continued applying the same method with 68 others now in kindergarten.

Waemasanah said more than 10 schools from Pattani and Narathiwat had visited and learned from her school. They were interested in applying the same techniques. So, she wants relevant agencies to extend the project to other schools.

Suwilai said the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre was interested in extending the project. She was due to meet its director on Friday to discuss the idea.

Suwilai was keen to follow up on the progress of 120 pilot students until they finish primary education.

Kirk Person, director for External Affairs at SIL International, a non-profit organisation committed to serving language communities worldwide for sustainable language development, said SIL had provided some technical support and advice to this project, based on its experience working with more than 1,500 ethnic minority languages in over 70 countries.

"It is SIL's policy to cooperate with governments and individuals in the countries where we work, so it has been very exciting for us to work with Suwilai and her team - including the villagers, teachers, officials, and others. We are including her project in a longitudinal Asia-wide research project of the impact of bilingual education in minority languages," he said.

UNICEF and the Thailand Research Fund have funded the research.

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-- The Nation 2010-09-20

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SOUTH CRISIS

Insurgents kill four Buddhists

By The Nation

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Muslim insurgents yesterday killed four Thai Buddhists, who were members of the last Buddhist families living in a village in Narathiwat's Ba Cho district, and burned down their homes in a night raid on Saturday.

Authorities said was aimed at scaring away those living in other areas.

Quoting witnesses, police said ten men armed with automatic rifles arrived at the scene in a pickup truck and two motorcycles in tambon South Bareh and opened fire at a home, killing Chuen Khongphet, 83. They then headed to the next house 50 metres away and shot at owners Jaroensil Bunthong, 47, and his wife, 58, who were later pronounced dead at a hospital.

The third target was a home across the street, where owner Hong Khongphet, 76, was shot and later died in hospital. Witnesses said the gunmen shot the victims while they were begging for their lives. They later torched the three houses and fled without taking any valuables.

Jiam Khongphet, who was a relative of the four victims, said he felt sorrow over the killings and vowed to leave the area soon. The man said he and the four victims were the last Buddhist families living in Houtaeyuelor village. "We loved our homeland and agreed to stay on while other Buddhists had long fled," he added.

Wanida, a daughter of Chuen, said the killings were so traumatising that no living relatives would return to the village. She called on authorities to provide protection to Buddhists living in other nearby areas. "I am saddened by the deaths and disheartened by repeated killings of Buddhists," she added.

Provincial governor Thanon Wetchakornkanont apologised to the survivors during the funerals held yesterday at Wat Bang Nara in Muang district, before he gave Bt10,000 to relatives of each victim. He said the relatives would wait for extra security measures to determine whether they were sufficient enough to prompt them to return to their homes.

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-- The Nation 2010-09-20

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NARATHIWAT MASSACRE

Governor apologises for failing to provide safety

Narathiwat governor on Sunday apologised that the authorities could not provide safety for the public after insurgents killed four Buddhists and burnt down their houses in Bacho district on Saturday.

"As governor of Narathiwat, I apologised to all people that the authorities and I fail to provide seurity for people in the province. We would urgently review our working plans to ensure safety for our people," Tanont Vejkornkanon said.

The attack against the Buddhists' houses in Hutaeyuloh village in Tambon Bareh in Bacho distict happened at 8 pm.

The insurgents attacked three houses and killed the residents before setting the houses on fire.

The four were identified as Charoensilp Boonthong, 47, Hong Khongphet, 76, Chuen Khongphet, 83, and Somsri Boonthong.

The governor said what had happened in Bacho district is a sample of violence that we do not want to see it happened again, the governor said.

The authorities would urgently survey to know which areas are vulnerable to the violence.

He suggested that evacuation may be necessary for any vulnerable areas which had small number of residents.

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-- The Nation 2010-09-20

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ABAC POLL

56% oppose emergency law

By The Nation

Thailand's image was likely to be tarnished by a protracted state of emergency and it would discourage foreign visitors, a survey found yesterday.

Respondents to an Abac poll said emergency rule made the country an unattractive destination (53 per cent), obstructed economic development (44 per cent), weakened democracy (43 per cent), encouraged abuse of power (41 per cent), opened the door to corruption (38 per cent). Some 56 per cent opposing the use of the law.

Abac Poll director Noppadon Kannikar urged authorities to raise awareness of the need and justification for prolonging the law before opposition to it grew. The 44 per cent backing the law cited acceptable performance at road checkpoints (69 per cent) and dispersal of street protests (33 per cent). Noppadon said the government had three options - gain public acceptance to keep the law in place, lift the law immediately to restore confidence in the justice system and existing security mechanisms or stop communicating with the public by churning out propaganda. Good understanding can only come by outlying the facts and letting people form their own judgement.

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-- The Nation 2010-09-20

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PHEU THAI PARTY

Factions went crazy at thought of Kowit leading party

By Somroutai Sapsomboon

The Nation

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Yongyuth

Rivals for leadership happy to have Yongyuth back as they vie to be PM

Was it just a common power struggle or some kind of double-dealing?

The Opposition Pheu Thai Party's effort to change its party leader that ended up seeing Yongyuth Wichaidit re-appointed has raised many eyebrows over what is going on with the country's biggest political party.

An investigation by The Nation has found that what transpired was the result of a mixture of policy adjustments on the part of Thaksin Shinawatra and deep-rooted factionalism in the party.

With Yongyuth being a virtual rubber stamp for the party with little de facto power, it was no wonder he started the move to change the party leadership. This was not the first, but rather the fourth time Yongyuth tried to quit this post.

Last week he found the opportunity when the party reached a unanimous resolution to expel two MPs who clearly displayed a stance to defect to other parties. To him it was the best time to quit and pave the way for a party restructuring. Under his plan, more MPs must be appointed to the party executive board and oppose the current board, which is made up mainly of outsiders.

A source in the Pheu Thai said be-fore making the announcement to quit, Yongyuth consulted not only party leaders but also family members of ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra who have positions in the party- and everyone agreed to his restructuring idea.

Yongyuth also managed to get the nod from the real party leader — Thaksin, who at that time happened to be toying with his idea of "national reconciliation" and wanted to replace Yongyuth with someone who could play his reconciliation game. Kowit Wattana, the former national police chief and former interior minister in the Samak Sundaravej government, came to Thaksin's mind as a sole candidate because Kowit has been seen as a fierce loyalist to the high institution.

Thaksin believed hand-picking Kowit would boost his reconciliation game because being disloyal to the monarchy is among the serious charges haunting Thaksin's camp.

But as Yongyuth was packing up to pave the way for Kowit to step in, many factions in the Pheu Thai Party "went crazy" opposing the move. That left Thaksin with no other option but to shelve any long-term plan and plead with Yongyuth to return.

"Yongyuth and Kowit have a totally different mindset over the premiership. We all know that Yongyuth does not want to be party leader, nor premier, but Kowit would come in with the intention of stepping up as PM. That is why many factions that hoped to see their leaders assume the premiership could not allow this to happen," the source said.

Pheu Thai MPs went to Russia to meet Thaksin because so many PM candidates in the party were upset with the plan - including Pheu Thai Party MPs chairman Chalerm Yoobamrung, Pheu Thai Party chairman Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, the-would-be Pheu Thai Party economic chairman, Mingkwan Saengsuwan and Deputy House Speaker Apiwan Wiriyachai, who has the support of the red shirts.

Upon Thakin's request, Yongyuth had no choice but to return to the "rubber stamp" post he has been unhappily holding for two years. Yongyuth regards Thaksin as a "boss'' whom he can never pay back with gratitude.

"The party's direction is clear - the party leader and party executive board are supposed to carry out secretarial and ceremonial jobs. The person who will take up the PM's post will be announced later. It could be Party MP chairman Chalerm, the Party chairman Chavalit, the Party economic chairman Mingkwan or the party chief adviser General Chetta Thanajaro," the source said.

The source added that the party did not see the importance of having an opposition party leader since Chalerm had been carrying out this task smoothly. "Even in the US, party leaders do not necessarily become president,'' he said.

After the reappointment of Yongyuth, national reconciliation efforts go on, but Thaksin has not accepted the condition that he must stop inciting reds because he felt cutting ties with the party and the red shirts would not do him any good.

Thakin's desire for clemency, one of his important conditions for reconciliation, is not only to gain amnesty for the reds charged with terrorism, but also to help the 111 and 109 banned politicians, and to "kill" any cases brought by the coup-installed government.

In the name of bargaining, it is common each side seeks the most they can think of - but negotiation will dictate how both settle their demands.

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-- The Nation 2010-09-20

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Bhum Jai Thai not happy about review of top post

By Avudh Panananda

The Nation

The appointment of a new permanent secretary for the Interior Ministry has become a contentious issue between the Democrats and the coalition Bhum Jai Thai Party.

Interior Minister Chaovarat Chanweerakul yesterday insisted on the nomination of Mongkol Surasajja for the job although Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has ordered a review.

"It is no fun having to answer questions related the Mongkol appointment," Chaovarat said, voicing concern about the delay causing a "domino effect" on the job line-up for his ministry.

The promotion of Mongkol from the position of director general of the Provincial Administration Department to the top job as permanent secretary had already been vetted and approved by the Cabinet, he said, hence he saw no justification for the review.

"The prime minister should have turned a deaf ear on the allegation raised by a junior officer," he said, in reference to whistle blower Wichien Chidchanoknart from the Registration Administration Bureau who claimed Mongkol had been involved in a suspicious Bt3.4-billion computer leasing.

Commenting on the deal, he said in Mongkol's defence that the leasing contract was the second part of a computer installation plan for the bureau under Mongkol's supervision and that it was scrutinised for six to seven months to rectify any loopholes and ensure transparency.

He criticised Wichien for bypassing his superiors in order to voice his suspicion directly to the prime minister, saying the move was unprecedented and in violation of the chain of command.

He said he felt hurt that the prime minister chose to take the words of a junior officer instead of listening to him.

He said he also worried that if Mongkol could not assume his new post by September 30, then the ministerial line-up would be stalled, forcing him to name caretaker office-holders.

Sources close to Mongkol denied any irregularities related to the deal, arguing that the leasing contract had been vetted by the Office of the Attorney General to ensure there was no "foul play".

Under the main contract, the service provider is entitled to increase maintenance charges by Bt40 million per month and any suspension of the second part of the leasing deal would make the department liable to a lawsuit for a breach of contract, according to sources.

Abhisit said he had heard what Chaovarat said about the matter but he was obligated to clear any lingering doubts on the computer deal before deciding his next step on Mongkol's appointment.

"I have a firm stand against corruption, otherwise I would have gone along with the initial report from the Interior Ministry," he said.

He said he agreed with the ministerial justification for the promotion of Mongkol regardless of his seniority but would not pass forward the nomination for a royal command until he was satisfied that the deal was clean.

He said he had explained to Chaovarat about the fresh details that made him suspicious of foul play. "The minister might have as much information as I do when he commented about the candidate for the job," he said.

Democrat MP Pramual Aimpia said the junior coalition party seemed to be a magnet for graft problems to the coalition alliance, referring to the computer deal and the Bt76-billion bus leasing project under the Transport Ministry.

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-- The Nation 2010-09-20

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Lecturers launch website to promote democracy

By Pongphon Sarnsamak

The Nation

Seven law lecturers from Thammasat University launched a website yesterday to gather legal documents and historic information in a bid to promote democracy.

The lecturers also want to create a resource where the public can access details about the political situation. Yesterday was the fourth year anniversary of 2006 coup and four months after the violent crackdown on red shirts.

"We want people to have a better understanding about the political situation with a legal perspective," said Janjira Iam-mayura, a law lecturer at Thammasat's Faculty of Law, who founded the website www.enlightened-jurists.com.

"This website will be a class room for the public to learn and debate about the political situation and democracy with a legal perspective and principles," she said.

It contains some articles that analyse the political scene from legal viewpoints.

"We have been working hard during the past four years to criticise the government with a judicial principle since the 2006 coup," Janjira said.

"We need law in harmony with democracy not reserved for a coup," she said.

Piyaburt Sangkanokkul, another Thammasat law lecturer, said the 2006 coup had caused disharmony in Thai society. This was also caused by the conflict between the 'elite' and politicians who won votes from elections.

He said the government must answer public queries about who issued orders and allowed red-shirt protesters to be killed during their protests in April and May.

He also attacked rights activists and social critics for joining a committee set up by the government to boost reconciliation in society.

"How come they forget the death of 91 people during the bloody dispersal?" he said.

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-- The Nation 2010-09-20

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Supreme Admin Court Accepts Appeal against Injunction on 3G License

The Supreme Administrative Court has accepted the National Telecommunication Commission's appeal against a lower administrative court's injunction against the 3G license auction. CAT Telecom will have the opportunity to present its case against the appeal on Sept 22. The Supreme Administrative Court is expected to hand down its ruling on the appeal on Sept 23 at 9 A.M.

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-- Tan Network 2010-09-20

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Supreme Administrative Court agrees to review NTC's appeal

The Supreme Administrative Court Monday agreed to review an appeal by National Telecommunications Commission against the Central Administrative Court's injunction against 3G licenses auction.

But the Supreme Administrative Court decline to make a ruling right away as it will allow the CAT Plc to submit its argument against the NTC's appeal by Wedensday.

After receiving the CAT Plc's written statement, the Supreme Administrative Court will decide on Thursday as to whether the NTC would be allowed to resume the 3G auction or not.

CAT Plc filed a complaint with the Central Administrative Court alleging the NTC with lacking the authority to auction off 3G licenses and asked the court to issue an injunction against the auction pending the court ruling.

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-- The Nation 2010-09-20

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Anupong confirms 30 RPG rockets stolen

Outgoing Army Commander-in-Chief Gen Anupong Paochinda confirmed Monday that 30 RPG rockets have been stolen from an arsenal in Lop Buri.

Anupong said a certain number of ammunitions had also been stolen.

He said the Army was in the process of gathering scientific evidences to try to locate the culprits.

He said it was possible that the weapons would be used in the southern insurgency.

He said the investigation by the Army might be completed in six or eight days.

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-- The Nation 2010-09-20

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SET Webpage Experiencing Technical Difficulties, Trading Unaffected

The Stock Exchange of Thailand website is experiencing some technical difficulties, preventing it from displaying real time prices and movements of stocks. However, the SET assured that trading by brokers remain unaffected and will go on as usual.

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-- Tan Network 2010-09-20

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TOT Staff Calls for Resignation of ICT Minister

TOT employees to gather at TOT HQ in Chaengwattana area to call for the resignation of ICT Minister Chuti Krairiksh who has publicly criticized TOT executives for filing an injunction against the much-awaited 3G license auction. A sealed letter will be submitted to both the ICT minister and the premier to clarify TOT's objection to the 3G auction.

The TOT Plc Friday filed a lawsuit with the Central Administrative Court against the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), which subsequently resulted in an injunction being issued against the auction.

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-- Tan Network 2010-09-20

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ICT Ministry to set up “banks for the poor”

BANGKOK (NNT) -- The Government is preparing to set up a bank for the poor at post offices to help solve informal debt problems, expecting that the bank will start its services in the beginning of next year.

According to Information Communication Technology (ICT) Minister Chuti Krairiksh, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has assigned the Ministry to be responsible for the establishment of a bank for the poor, or the post-office bank; so named because all the bank’s branches operate out of the post offices, numbering 1,200 nationwide.

Locals holding degrees in accounting or economics who are familiar with the people in their communities will be recruited to be stationed at each branch. About 100 branches of post offices are expected to be ready to begin banking services in January 2011.

Loan of not more than 10,000 THB will be granted to each client, each of whom will need six guarantors to guarantee for the loan. The interest rate is 12% per annum. The government hopes the bank for the poor can help solve informal debts and poverty problems.

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Govt urged to aid farmers damaged by flood

BANGKOK (NNT) -- The Horticultural Science Society has demanded that the Government urgently rehabilitate farmers whose farmlands have been inundated by flashfloods

According to Horticultural Science Society President Dr Ananta Dalodom, drought and flood have severely affected farmers, inundating their farmlands and damaging their crops. Although the natural disasters tend to drive up rice prices due to the fact that demand for rice has outstripped supply, the majority of farmers are still suffering because most of their farmlands have been submerged and not arable..

The Government, therefore, is encouraged to take the issues seriously and provide adequate compensation for a large number of farmers in many provinces nationwide who have been affected by rain and flood.

About 3-4 million rai of rice farmland across the country is expected to be damaged by severe flood this year.

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PM: Thailand remains bright, strong

BANGKOK (NNT) -- Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has ensured the bright prospects of Thailand despite the prevailing political unrest by citing four points of strength of the nation.

Speaking during the CNBC’s “Squawk on the Road” show at Shangri-La Hotel in Bangkok, the Prime Minister attributed Thai people’s determination and endurance to meet with different challenges to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej who is the center of strength and unity.

Secondly, Prime Minister Abhisit elaborated that the Thai economy grew well at 12% in the first quarter of this year despite the political problems. Besides, investment inflow continued satisfactorily into the stock market.

Thirdly, the Prime Minister stated that his Government had been implementing projects to empower local communities and to solve social disparities at the same time. He believed that good governance is the core of development and has been put in the 11th National Economic and Social Development Plan.

Lastly, Prime Minister Abhisit said his Government attached much importance to national competitiveness and other driving forces and was, therefore, promoting the creative economy policy to improve the competitive edge. According to him, Thailand now ranked 38th in terms of world competitiveness arranged by the World Economic Forum. He said the improved ranking provided a proof to Thailand’s success to a certain extent, and that the Government would continue to accelerate economic recovery to establish sustainable growth and knowledge-based society for the country.

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