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Thailand Live Tuesday 21 Sep 2010


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Thailand Live Tuesday 21 September 2010

News, Bits and Tweets

with webfact

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

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Related topic: Thailand Live Monday 20 September 2010

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Housing project launched for school staff in the restive south

BANGKOK (NNT) -- The Ministry of Education has initiated a housing project for school staff in the restive south.

Presiding over the opening ceremony of the residential project for teachers and educational staff based in Thailand's three southernmost provinces and four districts of Songkhla province, Deputy Secretary-General of the Welfare Committee for Teachers and Educational Officers, Bamnej Thip-aksorn said the project aimed at assuring greater protection for southern-based teachers. According to him, special privileges and discounts will be offered for school officers to own a home in safe and convenient areas.

The construction of a total of 300 house units has been complete, with CCTV cameras installed and security officers deployed at the residential areas.

Other welfare services also cover annual health check-up as well as the plan to construct a general hospital and office of Welfare Committee for Teachers and Educational Officers.

The ceremony took place at the Skypark Hotel in Hat Yai district of Song Khla province.


-- NNT 2010-09-21 footer_n.gif

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Wat Phra Borommathat in Nakhon Si Thammarat to be listed as a World Heritage Site

BANGKOK (NNT) -- The Fine Arts Department (FAD) has prepared to propose Wat Phra Borommathat, located in the southern Nakhon Si Thammarat

province as an addition to the existing World Heritage Sites.

The 14th Regional Office of Archaeology, Fine Arts Department (Nakhon Si Thammarat) Chief, Phongthan Sampao-ngern, said information of Wat Phra

Borommathat, the site of traditional Lankan pagodas had been collected in order to be proposed as a World Heritage site.

Discussions have been held with relevant agencies on the launch of management plan for the temple’s surroundings such as stalls, electric poles and wires.

The plan will be submitted along with the proposal, while another talk will be held with shop and stall operators who are going to be affected from the temple renovation in order to prevent further controversy.


-- NNT 2010-09-21 footer_n.gif

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Thai, Cambodia urged to talk at US-ASEAN New York summit

NEW YORK: -- Thai and Cambodian leaders should hold bilateral talks for their better understanding on the sidelines of the US-ASEAN summit to be held in New York on September 24 without the need of a mediator, Surin Pitsuwan, secretary general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) said.

It is a good opportunity for Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to hold bilateral talks with his Cambodian counterpart Prime Minister Hun Sen to pave the way for solving problems in the future as both leaders have not talked for some time, Dr Surin said, adding that both leaders being interviewed by the media could lead to misunderstanding.

"The two leaders will have another opportunity to meet at the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Belgium next month," he said. "They should take into consideration the two countries' major problem of unclear border demarcation and that technical measures should be laid out to settle the dispute.

Technology [applied] and the [question of the] watershed can be negotiable."

Dr Surin added that the two neighbouring countries should talk and rely on each other while the framework of ASEAN [cooperation] supports negotiations but it also depends on the resolve of both sides.

He called on the two countries to first agree on a bilateral level.

The US-ASEAN meeting in New York reflects the American interest and determination to cooperate with ASEAN in trade, investment, energy, environment, global warming and worldwide cultural conflicts, Dr Surin said, pointing out that ASEAN could be a good role model for other countries containing an internal conflict within its own community.

Tensions between Thailand and Cambodia regarding the border dispute flared up after the World Heritage Committee (WHC) registered the ancient Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage site in 2008.

Cambodia attempted to propose a temple management plan to the WHC, but Thailand opposed the move as a problem of the contested 4.6 sq km of land near the temple remains unsolved, leading to several military clashes along the Thai-Cambodian border. (MCOT online news)


-- TNA 2010-09-21

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BMA campaigns people to conserve rivers

BANGKOK (NNT) -- The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has organized a ‘National River Conservation Day’activity.’ The activity is aimed at campaigning for the public to take care of all rivers and waterways.

Bangkok Deputy Governor Dr Teerachon Manomaiphibul on Monday morning presided over the opening ceremony of the event at Phran Nok Pier in Bangkok Noi district; the opening was participated by BMA executives, related authorities, and residents in the area.

Speaking on the National River Conservation Day, which falls on September 20 every year, Dr Teerachon has encouraged all sides to join hands conserving and taking care of rivers and waterways for the sake of clean waters, in line with Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s wish.

The Deputy Governor has also stressed the determination of the BMA to solve the environmental problems caused by garbage, water pollution, and flood, in Bangkok; with participation of the public, private, and civil sectors.

Dr Teerachon then joined his team to distribute leaflets to people urging them to stop littering into rivers and waterways in order to help clean the environment under the program “No Litter, No Arrest, and No Fine”.


-- NNT 2010-09-21 footer_n.gif

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Poll reveals public feelings about education reform

By Chuleeporn Aramnet

The Nation

The first decade of educational reform appears to have gone by with little participation from the people, as some 60 per cent of the general public said they hadn't been involved, the first Khurusat Poll revealed yesterday.

Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Education dean Dr Sirichai Kanjanawasee said the polling team interviewed 2,115 academics, education executives, teachers, parents, members of the public and students nationwide last week about their expectation and confidence in the second decade of education reform (2009-2018).

The respondents scored the first decade of education reform at 4.8 out of 10 and about 60 per cent of the parents/general public said they didn't have any participation, whilst 29.5 per cent said they had participated actively, and 5.4 per cent said they participated with ideas.

In regard to the first year of the second decade of education reform, respondents rated their expectation of success at 6.1 out of 10 and rated their confidence in the Education Ministry being able to enact reforms at 5.6 out of 10. About 40 per cent said they had moderate knowledge about education reform, while just under 19 per cent said they had had a lot of information about it.

About a third of respondents (34 per cent) suggested the second round of reform focus on Mathayom level, but a slightly lower proportion (31 per cent) thought Prathom level should be targeted. About one in six (12.7 per cent) felt pre-school should be reformed while a similar number said higher education should be the focus. Just under 10 per cent suggested reform of vocational education.

Aspects that respondents felt should be emphasised were: teaching-learning (33 per cent), the curricular (18 per cent), the educational structure (17 per cent), educational opportunities (14 per cent), quality assurance (9 per cent) and the educational administration (8.7 per cent).

Some 37 per cent of poll respondents urged a focus on student quality, followed by teacher quality (nearly 34 per cent) and educational institutes (11 per cent). On student quality, 32 per cent a focus on students' ability to analyse, followed by the development of life skills and life-long learning ability (23 per cent).

Sirichai said he hoped the government would find this poll useful in adjusting their work to be more in line with set objectives and people's demands. He said the poll would be conducted every other month to help people reflect on the second round reform's progress and direction.

Education Minister Chinna-worn Boonyakiat said he accepted the poll result because it was obvious there was small people's participation in the reform as it focused on restructure. He said the second round should see better people's participation and what they must do consistently was develop education quality, opportunity and equity.

He said the government would officially announce the focus of the second round of educational reform next month, which would be student quality and participation from all sides.


-- The Nation 2010-09-21

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Push for minimum wage to be doubled

By The Nation

A proposal to more than double the minimum daily wage - from Bt206 to Bt421 - was accepted yesterday by the Labour Ministry and will be further considered by the Finance Ministry.

The rate is even higher than an earlier proposal to lift the minimum wage to Bt250, which the government has been considering approving.

The Thai Labour Solidarity Committee also called on the government yesterday to ratify an International Labour Organisation accord protecting labourers joining labour unions at their workplaces.

TLSC head Wilaiwan sae-Tia said employers in Thailand still gave labourers wanting to join unions harder work or abused them, to force them to resign.

The group also called for the Social Security Office to be set up as an independent agency, to ensure it was fully efficient and transparent. She said the office had operated for 20 years and now oversaw a huge fund but it still lacked these qualities.

Labour Minister Chalermchai Sri-on accepted the three proposals. He said the wage request could be passed to the Finance Ministry and a decision on whether to approve it or not would rest with the national Wage Tripartite Committee.

In regard to workers being able to join workplace unions, the issue would be sent to the Cabinet for approval, and then to Parliament for a final vote.

On the SSO issue, Chalermchai said businesses with 200 to 1,000 workers could operate their own social security systems if they got permission from the SSO.


-- The Nation 2010-09-21

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Court chief urges support for staff in far South

By Kesinee Taengkhio

The Nation

Supreme Court President Sopchoke Sukharom has serious concerns about the safety of a Betong Court official whose family members were killed and their home set alight in an insurgent attack against the only Buddhist homes in the Tambon Bareh's Hutaeyuloh neighborhood in Narathiwat's Bacho district late on Saturday.

Sopchoke instructed Courts of Justice secretary Wirat Chinwinijkul to attend the funeral for the family this week, Courts of Justice spokesman Sitthisak Wanachakij said yesterday.

The office also sent a memo and SMS to invite judges and court officials nationwide to donate money to an accounts department official named Sirilak Rabiebtham, who wasn't at home when the attack occurred, on top of financial assistance from the civil service welfare, he said. If Sirilak wished to be relocated, the office would consider her request, he added.

He said his office would ask for police protection for staff of southern courts living in risky areas and would try to put judges and court officials in the same residential zone for better security.

Sitthisak urged intelligence officials to warn officials in the area to be careful if they have any information about possible attacks.

The ongoing violence has caused many Buddhist or Chinese-descended officials to seek transfers out of the region, while many business people have suffered losses due to the lack of tourists and thus moved to other safer and more profitable provinces.

Buddhist shopkeepers in Narathiwat's Yi Ngor district were also fearful and wanted police protection, so each shop now has a security volunteer to guard it. Shops only half open their front doors when dealing with customers.

Many families had already sold homes and left Yi Ngor municipality, one female shopkeeper said. Now less than 10 Buddhist households remain. The shopkeeper said she had also announced her shop was for sale, because she was so afraid of teenagers' joking about being hired to bomb her place - it made her faint.


-- The Nation 2010-09-21

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BJT criticises Democrats for promoting Pol Lt-General Somkid while blocking Mongkhol

By The Nation

BANGKOK: -- The Democrat Party got a dose of its own medicine yesterday when coalition partner Bhum Jai Thai Party compared its appointment of Interior Ministry permanent secretary Mongkhol Surajsajja to the controversial promotion of Pol Lt-General Somkid Bunthanon to be an assistant police chief.

At a press conference, Bhum Jai Thai spokesman Supachai Jaisamut said Mongkhol did not have any flaw in his career records, but Somkid was still a suspect in an indictment now underway, despite an earlier amnesty whitewashing his alleged involvement in the disappearance of a Saudi businessman 20 years ago.

"This is the difference the prime minister should take into consideration and act on in defence of Mongkhol, as a subordinate," he said.

"The Interior Ministry insists that the nomination is rightful, and will not be retracted or reviewed."

Supachai said Deputy Prime Minister and Democrat Party secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban, who oversees the Interior Ministry, had okayed Bhum Jai Thai's nomination of Mongkhol as new permanent secretary. He is officially due to take up the position on October 1.

The Cabinet has approved Mongkhol's nomination, but the prime minister withdrew the paperwork before it could get royal endorsement, citing an ongoing investigation into alleged corruption at the ministry over an expensive purchase of a computer project.

Supachai said Mongkhol would be appointed as acting permanent secretary if he was not allowed to take the post officially on October 1 for whatever reason, but being an acting official might later affect moves he made in any reshuffle of provincial governors.

"The acting position could be considered practical, despite problems with legal technicalities," he said.

Suthep said he would soon have talks with key coalition ally Newin Chidchob about the appointment of Mongkhol. He said the issue must be finalised before the reshuffle of provincial governors was decided.

A Senate committee called an urgent session yesterday to discuss Mongkhol's appointment amid concern he lacked seniority and that promoting him from the provincial administration had demoralised ministry officials.

Deputy Interior Minister Boonjong Wongtrairat, assigned by Abhisit to testify before the Senate panel, said "jump-the-gun" promotions were not new to the ministry, citing five incidents in five administrations in which all appointees were selected despite lacking seniority.

Former permanent secretary Phongphayome Wasaphooti said appointing Mongkhol to an acting position would not be right, as people who took on acting roles must only be deputies.

The prime minister's intervention in the appointment of Mongkhol has deepened a rift between the Democrats and Bhum Jai Thai. Key figures from each party are set for high-level talks on the matter.


-- The Nation 2010-09-21

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Check on rancid milk found in Ayutthaya

By Pongphon Sarnsamak

The Nation

Officials from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were investigating yesterday why milk in Ayutthaya was rancid before its expiry date.

The inquiry came after Ayutthaya residents filed a complaint to provincial public health officials after they bought milk from a local shop and found it went "off" before it should have.

Public Health Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said provincial health officials collected samples of spoiled milk in Ayutthaya.

He also instructed FDA staff to collect milk from the same lot produced by the manufacturer in Samut Prakan province. They will also look into its milk production.

"The company will be fined Bt20,000 or [directors] could face up to two years in jail if FDA staff find they produced milk that was substandard," Jurin said.

FDA secretary general Dr Pipat Yingseri said the company would have to withdraw its products immediately if the inquiry found the milk it had produced was contaminated.

Pipat said there were several factors that caused milk to go rancid, such as the method of storage and container leakage.


-- The Nation 2010-09-21

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Truant officers to keep check on student brawlers

By Supinda Na Mahachai

The Nation

To cope with the problem of student brawls, the Education Ministry will appoint 1,000 truant officers to patrol areas at risk in Bangkok and neighbouring provinces, Chaliew Yoosrimarak, permanent secretary for the ministry said yesterday.

Furthermore, five surveillance centres would be set up in Bangkok's Don Muang, Bang Bon, Charunsanitwong and Min Buri districts and Samut Prakan province.

Chaliew said he had already signed approval for the appointments.

He said it was Education Minister Chinnaworn Boonyakiat's policy to appoint the truant officers under the Child Protection Act 2003. Teachers under the Office of Basic Education Commission, Office of Vocational Education Commission and Office of Private Education Commission, had been chosen to work as truant officers to patrol the areas and check on students among risky groups.

In other provinces, governors have the power to appoint their own truant officers, he said.

"The officers will have a card and signs to identify their authority. They will patrol in different areas, especially the risky ones, and work closely with relevant organisations. The anti-student brawl measures will be implemented inside schools also, where guidance teachers will be trained in the psychology of teenagers to notice strange behaviour and give proper assistance," Chaliew added.

"Both truant officers and guidance teachers will attend meetings to acknowledge and understand the ministry's measures in October - so they can work effectively and in the same direction," he said.


-- The Nation 2010-09-21

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Jaruvan disrupts AGO meeting called by deputy

By The Nation

Outgoing auditor-general Jaruvan Maintaka yesterday clashed with her deputy Pisit Leelawachiropas again after she crashed a meeting he had called with senior agency officials.

Pisit has maintained his right to take over Jaruvan's job since she reached the retirement age of 65 in July.

Some 40 people, including deputy auditors-general and senior officials from the agency's offices throughout the country, gathered in the morning at the meeting room of the Auditor-General's Office to hear Pisit explain the agency's problems.

Soon after the meeting started, Jaruvan entered the room, tapped Pisit on the shoulder and gestured for him to move out of the seat at the head of the table. She then took over his seat as well as his microphone, according to a source.

Jaruvan complained about Pisit's order for her to return her official vehicle and for her to be barred from entering her office.

She insisted she still had the legal authority to retain her post and noted the Administrative Court did not order her to be suspended from duty pending a ruling on a petition filed by the Ombudsman.

While Jaruvan was talking, Pisit and some others left the room. Then the lights went out but she continued speaking with the microphone.

In the afternoon, Pisit called a press conference. He said he "felt embarrassed that such an incident happened inside the Auditor-General's Office".

The agency's senior officials who left the room with him also "could not accept" what happened, he said, adding that it did not augur well for his agency's credibility and reputation.

After the microphone was snatched from him, he decided to declare the meeting adjourned to avoid any serious incident.

This was another example of attempts to interrupt meetings he had called in his capacity as acting auditor-general, he said.

Pisit told reporters he had instructed units to seek the return of Jaruvan's official vehicle, notebook computer, mobile telephone as well as her office.

It was normal for agency heads to return such state property when they depart, and he had given Jaruvan considerable time to do so, he said.

As the agency's No 2, he had the right to take over when Jaruvan was supposed to vacate her office at the age of 65, he said.

Throughout Pisit's press conference, Jaruvan sat silently listening to him. She later gave reporters copies of a document stating the Administrative Court, and not her subordinates, had the power to rule on Pisit's status.

She did not call another press conference after Pisit's.

"I won't speak. I don't want to bicker with some junior," she said.


-- The Nation 2010-09-21

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Red shirts want me to push reconciliation: Sanan

By The Nation

Deputy Prime Minister Sanan Kachornprasart says detained red-shirt leaders want him to mediate a reconciliation plan.

Sanan yesterday visited Natthawut Saikua and six other red-shirt leaders at Bangkok Remand Prison for 45 minutes. Sanan brought four boxes of pomelos for the detainees.

“The red-shirt leaders want me to mediate a reconciliation plan without any more conditions,” Sanan said after his visit.

“They are willing to help, as well as me. I’m willing and ready to mediate such a discussion with all conflicting sides, including former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who is sup¬

posed to stop his political movement.

“However, before talking to Thaksin, I should talk to the People’s Alliance for Democracy first,” he said. Sanan said that if talk about peace made progress, he would propose the issue to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

“I came personally. Natthawut is my relative and close friend. It has nothing to do with the government,” he explained.

“I said on my 75th birthday this month that I’d try to enhance reconciliation.

“After this I will visit more people to discuss reconciliation,” he said, adding that the prime minister would understand.

Sanan refused to give his opinion on the amnesty bill proposed by coalition partner Bhum Jai Thai, saying only that it was a big issue that needed more discussion. He thought the bill had nothing to do with the reconciliation plan.

Meanwhile, the Bhum Jai Thai Party’s idea of an amnesty law for protesters had won support of fellow coalition party Chart Thai Pattana, Bhum Jai Thai spokesman Supachai Jaisamut said yesterday.

“There has been an initial discussion and Chart Thai Pattana agreed with the proposal in principle, and offered to support it,” Supachai told a press conference at the Ministry of Interior.

He said Bhum Jai Thai’s executive board would convene a meeting of party MPs today to discuss the draft law, which would give amnesty to people who broke the law by taking part in political rallies or conflicts from September 19, 2006, to May 31 this year.

The spokesman said the draft to be assessed by the Bhum Jai Thai meeting would be used by the party and Chart Thai Pattana in a joint campaign for support from constituents.

Supachai said the proposed amnesty was intended for ordinary protesters who broke the law with good intentions and would not cover the masterminds, leaders and people who committed criminal offences, particularly terrorism and acts against the monarchy.

He noted, however, that the proposed amnesty would cover state officials who acted on orders, including former national police chief Patcharawat Wongsuwan, who order a crackdown on yellow-shirt protesters in October 2008.

When asked whether Bhum Jai Thai would seek support from other coalition parties and the opposition for its proposed amnesty law, Supachai said it would welcome backing from other parties.


-- The Nation 2010-09-21

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EC sets date for Surat Thani poll

By The Nation

The Election Commission has set Saturday, October 30, for the by-election in Surat Thani to replace former Democrat MP Chumpol Kanchana, who has been banned from politics.

EC chairman Apichart Sukhagganond said yesterday that candidacy registration would be open from October 4-8, and the absentee poll would be held from October 23-24.

The EC would have to ensure that voters realise the balloting is on a Saturday, not a Sunday as usual.

Surat Thani celebrates an annual traditional festival from October 20-28, so October 30 would be the best choice. It is also the deadline for the election to take place 45 days after the seat is vacated.

The EC has to organise the by-election according to the law. It cannot wait for Chumpol’s appeal to run its course, he added.

The Supreme Court on Thursday barred Chumpol from holding public office for five years after failing to declare Bt200 million in debts in his financial statements to the EC.


-- The Nation 2010-09-21

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Abhisit to clarify Thai issues while he is in the US

By The Nation

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva will clarify and explain issues of economics, politics and foreign policy to audiences during his visit to the United States from Wednesday to Saturday.

He will be telling investors about the Map Ta Phut problems, the souring of ties with Cambodia and the auction of 3G licences at the US-Asean Business Council on Friday, a Government House official said yesterday.

Abhisit hopes the foreign business community and investors will understand his government’s policies and justice system, the official said.

The premier will also attend the second US-Asean summit on Friday to emphasise the importance of America’s role in building up security in Southeast Asia. Leaders from both sides will look for ways to prevent protectionism and help turn the US and Asean into strategic partners.

On Thursday Abhisit will attend the opening ceremony of the 65th UN General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York. The assembly this year will include a high-level meeting on the Millennium Development Goals in order to push member countries, notably developing countries, to achieve the goal by 2015.

The premier will also meet the media while he’s in the US, and is scheduled for interviews with CNN and CNBC. Foreign media, notably CNN, was accused of being prejudiced when reporting on Abhisit’s handling the red-shirt protest earlier this year.

Abhisit will also hold bilateral meetings with many foreign leaders, including Slovenian Prime Minister Borut Pahor, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, and also attend a luncheon with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. A dinner reception hosted by US President Barack Obama, a speech at the Council of Foreign Relations and a meeting with Thais in New York is also on the PM’s itinerary.

He is scheduled to return to Thailand on Sunday morning.


-- The Nation 2010-09-21

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Phuket monkey viewpoint half complete


MONKEY BUSINESS: Work is being done to improve facilities at the popular monkey-viewing spot.


ON THE WAY: Upgrades are on tap for a seaside promenade at Mali Kaew Beach, where officials hope to attract more tourists.

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Tension eases over Interior appointment row: BJT spokesman

By The Nation

The Bhum Jai Thai Party has felt mollified about the delay in the appointment of the new permanent secretary for Interior Ministry, party spokesman Supachai Jaisamut said on Tuesday, following news reports that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva had had a talk on the matter with faction leader Newin Chidchob last night.

Supachai said the row erupted because of differing perspectives although PM Abhisit and Interior Minister Chaovarat Chanweerakul both shared a common goal for what would be in the country's best interest.

"Abhisit and Chaovarat have looked at the appointment from their respective views but in the end Chaovarat wants to safeguard the country's interest," he said.

He confirmed the differing views had been resolved, ending the row over the appointment. He did not clarify about the agreement reached between the prime minister and Newin.

Chaovarat earlier voiced opposition to the delay in the appointment of Mongkol Surasajja as the Inrior permanent secretary. Abhisit insisted, however, on clearing any lingering doubts on Mongkol;s involvement in the suspected irregularities on a computer leasing deal before proceeding with his appointment.


-- The Nation 2010-09-21

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Phuket marks National Fisheries Day today


Three Phuket schoolgirls take part in the ceremony,

which is also seen as a form of merit-making among many Buddhists.


Phuket Governor Wichai Phraisa-ngop (center) and Fisheries Office chief

Kavi Saranakomkul (right) take part in the release ceremony last week.

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Phuket Vegetarian Festival 2010 to serve up tourism treat


Photographers from all over the world make their way to Phuket in October

to capture images of the amazing spectacle. Photo by Christain Mouchet.

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Skydiving Accidents Leave 1 Soldier Dead, 1 Injured in Nakhon Ratchsima

One solider was killed and another was injured in a parachuting accident in Nakhon Ratchasima province.

Sergeant Udon Iamnok, a 32-year-old member of the 3rd Long-range Reconnaissance Unit at the Suranaree military camp, was performing a parachute jump during a charity skydiving show at Baan Non Muang School in Nakhon Ratchasima province, when he lost control of his parachute and fell to the ground.

Udon was said to have been killed instantly.

There were 68 paratroopers taking part in the skydiving show to raise funds for the construction of a new building at the school.

According to his fellow paratroopers, Udon was not an experienced jumper and the parachute he was using during his actual jump was not the same size as the one he had used during practice.

Another soldier reportedly broke his leg during his jump after losing control.

Despite the tragedy, the parachuting show will go on and the soldiers will complete the 15 rounds of jumping.


-- Tan Network 2010-09-21


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