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Thailand Live Saturday 5 Feb 2011


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Thailand Live Saturday 5 February 2011

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 sothat 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 Friday 4 Feb 2011

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Thai Rubber Prices Expected to Rise

Higher global demand, which has outpaced supply, is expected to drive rubber prices up even further this year.

Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Supachai Phosu said that the National Rubber Policy Committee, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, affirmed that Class-3 raw rubber sheet is now priced at 168 baht a kilogram.

The price of Class 3 ribbed smoked sheet (RSS) is at 181 baht a kilo.

The committee expects the price to rise to as high as 200 baht a kilo by the end of the year.

The outlook on rising prices was based on a finding that expects demand for all types of Class 3 rubber sheets to total around 700,000 tons, but Thailand only has around 300,000 tons in supply for sale.

Supachai added that the meeting also agreed to raise the price of rubber tree saplings used in the state-initiated 800,000-rai rubber tree planting campaign from 18 baht to 25 baht per unit.

He assured that the price rise will not affect the state budget as the government can move excess funds from other projects to subsidize the campaign.


-- Tan Network 2011-02-05


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Supreme Commander denies southern violence has worsened

BANGKOK (NNT) -- Supreme Commander General Songkitti Jaggabatara affirms that the situation in the Deep South has not become more severe while pleading with local residents to show support for the troops.

Compared to previous years, Gen Songkitti insisted that the southern insurgency problem had not exacerbated, given the authorities were receiving better cooperation from the local people. He believed that, with a joint effort among all sides, the restive situation would not drag on for long. As there are many entangled problems in the area, the Supreme Commander suggested that drug problems and dark influences must be dealt with first while moral support for the security officials is also a vital part.

Meanwhile, Deputy Interior Minister Thaworn Senneam urged all residents of the three southernmost provinces to exercise their utmost restraint as the insurgents only want to attract the attention of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). Instead of taking personal vengeance against the attackers, local residents are encouraged to relay any related information and evidence to concerned authorities for their arrest.

In addition, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has reportedly ordered officials stationed in the Deep South to beef up security, especially at checkpoints, and to make sure that there are no loopholes in their operations to provide the people with maximum safety.


-- NNT 2011-02-05 footer_n.gif

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Thai student tells of trauma in Cairo

By Somroutai Sapsomboon

Wannapa Khaopa

The Nation


"Thank Allah" were Waliyah Yingwattanagrai's first words after she arrived in Thailand safely yesterday morning.

Fleeing violent protests convulsing the Egyptian capital of Cairo, Waliyah had finally made it home thanks to her own determined efforts - and those of her family.

She was among 338 passengers aboard the second special Thai Airways International flight chartered to bring Thais home. They arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport around 9am.

The 21yearold student at AlAzhar University in Cairo is among 2,600 Thais studying in the country. She is a thirdyear undergraduate majoring in Islamic Studies.

"I registered my name with the Thai embassy seven or eight times saying I wanted to return to Thailand," she said. "My elder sister tried to contact me and give me useful numbers to call for help."

After reading news reports about Thai students who did not want to leave Egypt, Waliyah's father contacted The Nation to say his daughter wanted to come home.

"I was worried about the uncertain situation and violence," she said. "I decided to leave Egypt, even though I was staying in a safe place far from the clashes. I didn't know when the protests would end or when the country would return to order.

"Prices of food doubled. I couldn't use the Internet and mobile phone signals were sometimes unavailable. I heard a foreign student was killed and raped and many people were robbed. Lots of prisoners escaped from prisons. My three roommates and I had to be watchful."

Waliyah said some Thai students were mugged and others were accidentally hit by tear gas.

While other foreign students flew back to their homelands, Thai students' fates were unclear. Many who were about to graduate refused to return to Thailand, she said.

Waliyah and 15 other Thai students hired a van to get to Cairo International Airport on Thursday. Three or four were men who guarded them from attacks on the way to the airport. Fortunately, no attack came.

The protests prevented Waliyah from arranging her visa extension. "I don't know if I will be allowed to do it later, so my education at the university is at risk. If everything goes back to normal, I will try to return to finish my bachelor's degree."

Waliyah said there were still a lot of Thai students living outside Cairo. "I want the Thai authorities to help them as well because they may not be able to contact them. There is no public transport available now," she said.


-- The Nation 2011-02-05

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Latest National Artist honourees named

By The Nation


Veteran actress Phissamai Wilaisak, well-known film director Suprawat Patthamasoot, and folksong composer Surachai Janthimathorn are among those talents selected as National Artists this year.

The other National Artists, in overall arts category, are Thongchai Rakprathum (painting), Phao Suwansaksri (Thai architecture), Pranom Thapaeng (fine arts-embroidery). In Literature, the laureates are Sombat Phlainoi (short story) and Surachai (short story, poetry).

In Artistic Performances, the laureates are Khuan Thuanyok (folklore music), Asst Prof Choochart Phithaksakorn (modern music), Phissamai and Suprawat (film and screenplay, as director and actress/actor respectively).

Phissamai said it was her biggest honour after 53 years in the show business, and would continue acting or guiding new actors. Pranom said she did not expect to be given the award this year after a few nomination in previous years, but felf previleged and would continue developing her embroidery works.

Sombat said the award was unthinkable to him, calling himself a no-name writer, but would continue working on writing and literature.

All new National Artists will receive the award officially presented to them in a ceremony on February 24, by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, at the National Centre of Thailand.

The National Cultural Council, which selects National Artists each year, also endorses a decision by the National Artists' Foundation, which gives former prime minister Chuan Leekpai an honourary award recognising his roles behind the setup of the foundation.

Since 1984, when the National Artists award were first created, there have been 212 of them recognised, 125 of whom are still alive. Each of them is given a monthly pay of Bt20,000, and treatment pay no more than Bt40,000 each year in case of illnesses.


-- The Nation 2011-02-05

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Finalists to be picked today for TV dance programme

By The Nation

More Than Dance, a new programme on Mango TV, will today announce its 15 finalists.

They are to be chosen after 45 shortlisted candidates from across the country take part in the audition at the Centrepoint Cyberia, CentralWorld earlier today.

The 15 finalists will then receive dance training at Bangkok University's Rangsit Campus between March 7 and March 18. During the training, their activities will be broadcast on Mango TV.

The final competition is scheduled on March 19.

Behind this cool TV programme are Nation Multimedia Group's NJ Magazine, Dance Centre, Nation Broadcasting Corporation, Bangkok University and the [email protected].


-- The Nation 2011-02-05

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Residents say condo is too noisy

By The Nation


Many residents at the Grand DiamondPratunam condominium yesterday lodged a complaint with the Foundation for Consumers over the fact that a public area in the project had been turned into a shopping plaza.

"When I came to buy a unit here, project information presented it as a peaceful place. I want relevant authorities to force a legal entity managing the property to honour the contract signed with me," Sirichai Hongsanuansri said.

He said it was not fair for consumers when the property manager could change any clause in the contract whenever it wanted.

Although a meeting was held to listen to the opinions of the residents, Sirichai said not all were invited.

Yuwatida Yakono, another resident, said her privacy was gone since the plaza sprang up into operations.

"There are crowds of people around with loud noise and exhaust fumes from heavy traffic," she complained.

She said when her family decided to move into the condo, they expected to enjoy a quiet and classy lifestyle.

"This is not what we had expected," Yuwatida said.


-- The Nation 2011-02-05

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Yala attack kills 1, key suspect in Pattani gunfire named

By The Nation


A soldier was killed and two others injured when a roadside bomb exploded in Yala's Raman district yesterday while the team was escorting teachers to school.

Corporal Phadungphong Songarjin succumbed to injuries while on his way to hospital, though the other two Army rangers suffered minor injuries. The three victims were members of the 4113 Army Ranger Company.

Meanwhile, Hasman Jehba was identified as the key suspect behind the gunfire attack in Pattani on Thursday, which killed five and wounded four others at a busy market. It is believed that the attack was aimed at Buddhists. There is already a warrant out against Hasman for shooting dead a teacher in Pattani two years ago.

Hasman was once apprehended, but he jumped bail and has been on the run since. Police say Hasman and the five gunmen who took part in the shooting were still hiding in Sai Buri district.

Narathiwat's deputy imam Abdulwahab Jehpoh, meanwhile, expressed condolence over the deaths of the five Pattani residents and denounced the violence, which he said was aimed at separating the Muslims and Buddhists.

Some 29 clerics and imams based in Narathiwat's Sungai Kolok district have taken up the mission of educating Muslims about the Islam's teachings of nonviolence as well as tell them about His Majesty's speeches on peace, reconciliation and coexistence.

An expert on the peace process in the South, Asst Prof Srisomphob Jitphiromsri, confirmed authorities' speculation that the attacks are now aimed at causing a split between Buddhist and Muslim residents.

He warned authorities and the public to watch out for possible attacks against Thai Muslims, which would drive a further wedge between the two faiths and even prompt a violent retaliation.

"This is the ultimate goal of the insurgents in the South," he added.

Army commander Prayuth Janocha, meanwhile, called on insurgents to lay down their arms and surrender to authorities by the end of March. He did not say what would happen after the deadline.


-- The Nation 2011-02-05

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Abhisit vows to give public full access to facts

By The Nation

The public should be given full access to government information, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday as he reiterated his commitment to push for full compliance with the 1997 Official Information Act.

"The spirit of the law is to ensure good governance and promote people's participation in the decision-making process, therefore access to information is vital for people to make an informed judgement," he said.

Abhisit explained that in the face of modern information technology and the WikiLeaks phenomenon, any attempts to withhold information would be futile and more damaging.

If access is denied, people will turn to non-governmental channels for information and end up with biased data, while government agencies would be deprived of the opportunity to tell the real story, he said.

The premier listed the following reasons to justify full public access to information:

- Technology has advanced to a point where it would be counter-productive to withhold information;

- Transparency and full access to information will help in the fight against corruption;

- News reports have often been skewed because media professionals do not have access to official information, forcing them to look to other sources, which provide distorted data.

In reaction to Abhisit's remarks, Pheu Thai Party spokesman Promphong Nopparit said this government was the worst when it came to withholding information, adding that the opposition party had little or no access to facts.

Instead, he said, members of the opposition had to rely on complaints from disgruntled officials in order to check on the government's performance.


-- The Nation 2011-02-05

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Some health professionals object to malpractice bill

By The Nation


More than 50 medical workers rallied in front of the Ratchaburi Hospital yesterday to protest against the Medical Malpractice Victim Protection Bill after they heard that the draft would soon go to Parliament.

Dr Thanongkij Pachapinyo, a surgeon at the hospital, said he and other linkminded health professionals were planning to wear black every day from Monday onward to show their disapproval.

"Doctors and nurses will suffer direct impacts from this draft law. So we have to make our opinions known," he said.

In the eyes of many medical workers, the bill will make them more vulnerable to lawsuits.

Thanongkij said if the bill is passed he will strictly follow the Public Health Ministry's standard and this would mean spending about 15 minutes examining each patient.

"We will treat about 30 patients each day then," he said and warned that such practice was going to leave people without any access to medical services.


-- The Nation 2011-02-05

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Cambodia: We captured Thai troops. Thailand: No Thai troops captured. PAD: We'll announce big plan this evening. /[email protected]

House Speaker Chai Chidchob to PAD: Please....for peace's sake. /[email protected]

Kasit to brief Asean, foreign envoys this afternoon and follow it up with a press conference by Foreign Ministry spokesman. /[email protected]

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Thailand postpones goods exhibition in Phnom Penh indefinitely

BANGKOK, Feb 5 -- As fresh fighting at the disputed Thai-Cambodian border erupted, the Thai Commerce Minister Pornthiva Nakasai has decided to postpone a Thai goods exhibition scheduled to be held in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh for an indefinite period, a spokesman for the ministry said.

The spokesman said Ms Pornthiva had ordered the four-day exhibition--which was scheduled to start on February 17--to be postponed due to security concerns following deadly fighting at the disputed border which began on Friday.

The postponement of the exhibition, aimed at strengthening economic, trade and investment between the two neighbouring countries, has already forced some Thai manufacturers who were supposed to attend the fair to cancel their participation.

Both Thai and Cambodian troops on Friday afternoon exchanged gunfire and artillery near the disputed 11th century Preah Vihear temple. Fresh clashes continued early Saturday.

Meanwhile, Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC) deputy chairman Niyom Waiyaratchapanich said it had to see in detail why the border clashes broke out.

The TCC did not want to see the fighting escalate. Although Cambodia and Thailand had a misunderstanding in some cases, bilateral trade continued as usual.

He said the private sector believed both countries did not want checkpoints to be closed because it could adversely affect bilateral trade.

In the past, he conceded, the border conflicts had impacted tourism and investment rather than trade.

Mr Niyom said the investment in Cambodia by Thai people had declined to the 9th rank from the 3rd-4th positions due to the political and border conflicts.

Previously, more than 200,000 Thai people had travelled to Cambodia annually. Now, the number has been reduced to around 2,000.

Thai-Cambodian trade totaled 50 billion baht in value last year. Of this, 47 billion baht are of exports to Cambodia and the remaining Bt3 billion are that of imports.

“It is a pity the investment in Cambodia by Thailand continues to decline while that by China and Vietnam is on the rise. So, the private sector wants both neighboring countries to turn to negotiations to end their conflicts quickly,” Mr Niyom said.


-- TNA 2011-02-05

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US urges Thailand and Cambodia to exercise restraint

Fighting erupted again Saturday morning. One Thai soldier was reportedly killed.

Washington has urged Thailand and Cambodia to exercise restraint amid reports of armed confrontation on their international border.

"We are closely following events on the Thailand-Cambodia border after reports of an armed confrontation between security forces on February 4," State Department spokesman P J Crowley said in a statement yesterday.

"The US urges both sides to exercise maximum restraint and take all necessary steps to reduce tensions and avoid further conflict," he said.

Artillery exchanges between Thailand and Cambodia on Friday in the disputed area near the Hindu Preah Vihear Temple killed at least six soldiers and civilians on both sides as well as damaged property in one of the worst border flare-ups in a decade.

The skirmish forced 3,000 local Thai villagers to evacuate to safe place.

The fighting started again on Saturday morning. Sounds of artillery shootings were heard. One Thai soldier was reportedly killed and some others injured.


-- The Nation 2011-02-05

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