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Thailand Live Wednesday 3 Aug 2011


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Thailand Live Wednesday 3 August 2011

News, Bits and Tweets

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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 Tuesday 2 Aug 2011

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17,000 booths to go

By The Nation

About 17,000 unused telephone booths or those built in violation of concession contracts in Bangkok will soon be removed, Deputy Governor Thaya Theepasuwan said yesterday.

The booths facing removal belong to True Corp or CAT Telecom and are not in compliance with a 2003 concession, mostly because their panels are not transparent, they are in areas where they block the scenery or they are on sidewalks less than 1.5 metres in width.

In addition, some booths are out of order, she said.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration will hold talks with both companies on August 23.

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-- The Nation 2011-08-03

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Another smoke crisis hits Yala

By The Nation

The Yala public health office yesterday urged residents to wear face masks when going out doors to protect themselves from a third round of smoke caused by forest fires in Indonesia.

As the smoke shrouded the Yala sky for the third time this year after two previous occasions in July, Yala public health official Dr Apiwatjaneewong said his office was conducting public relations through a website, a community public-address system, and brochures handed out at district health stations.

He has instructed hospitals to watch out for an increase in respiratory patients, while urging those with asthma, allergies, and lung disease to take special care with their health and wear face masks outdoors.

Meanwhile, Krabi and Phattalung provinces were also covered by the Indonesian forest fire smoke but so far no negative impacts have been reported.

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-- The Nation 2011-08-03

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Confusing testimony from security guard in CentralWorld fire case

By PRAVIT ROJANAPHRUK

THE NATION

A prosecution witness who claimed who have taken a photograph of one of the two adult defendants in the case of the CentralWorld shopping-complex fire in May last year, yesterday gave confusing testimony as to how sure he was that the man in the blurry picture was in fact Saichon Paebua.

Ratchaphon Charoensuk, a security guard at CentralWorld who was assigned to take pictures of intruders in the immediate aftermath of the May 19 military suppression of red shirts in the area, first told the court that he had recognised Saichon from the photo he took, and had later identified him to the police on that basis. However, after further questioning yesterday by the prosecution, he told the court that he might have recognised Saichon from both the memory of what he had seen through his viewfinder and again by looking at the picture he took.Ratchapon said he had taken the blurry picture from a distance of about 20 metres and through a glass window. He told the court he was unaware of whether Saichon had been engaged in either theft or arson. Saichon and another red-shirt man face the maximum penalty of death for allegedly setting fire to the building and causing the death of a man who is believed to have suffocated on the fourth floor of the shopping complex.Saichon, who was not arrested at the scene but more than two weeks later at Sanam Luang, told The Nation yesterday afternoon that he had been forced to admit that he was the man in the photograph because "police threatened to lynch me and send me to the military". Saichon - a red-shirt guard - is illiterate, claims he is unsure of his exact age and says he can only sign his name.A defence lawyer yesterday tried to cast doubt over whether the man found dead after the fire had indeed died due to suffocation or had been killed by someone prior to the fire.However, a witness appeared unable to provide any conclusive testimony beyond saying that by the time he saw the body, it was "slightly smelly".The trial continues today with the prosecution vowing to screen a damning video implicating the two defendants.

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-- The Nation 2011-08-03

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Offer wishes to HM

By The Nation

The National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT) and Chulalongkorn University have invited the public to express their good wishes for His Majesty the King by using gold-nanocrystal and silver-nanocrystal technology at the Thailand Research Expo 2011.

The show will be held at CentralWorld Plaza's Bangkok Convention Centre from August 26-30.

NRCT secretary-general Sutthiporn Jitmittraparp said yesterday that the annual event - involving 100 allied organisations presenting 600 research items - comprised two parts: an exhibition and a series of meetings.

While the meetings will discuss the country's research management in general and about 20 other issues, the exhibition will feature eight topics, including green-world research, community-development research, and research on development of quality of life.

Participants will also have a chance to write their good wishes to His Majesty the King using nanocrystal technology. Those with artistic talent can also draw pictures using this new technology for a prize.

For details, call 02 561 2445 extension 569 or access www.researchexpo.nrct.go.th.

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-- The Nation 2011-08-03

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Speaker-elect hopes for House vote on PM by Friday

By THE NATION

Somsak Kiartsuranond, the House Speaker-in-waiting, said yesterday that he hoped the House of Representatives would be able to convene no later than Friday to elect the next prime minister.

Speaking after a House meeting in which he was elected Speaker, Somsak said that if there were royal endorsement for his nomination this morning, he would call the House meeting tomorrow. If the green light came in the afternoon, he would call the meeting on Friday.

The Pheu Thai Party's top candidate, Yingluck Shinawatra, has been its only candidate for the post of prime minister, according to Somsak, who is a party MP from Khon Kaen.

When asked to comment on the fact that he was elected without any competing candidates, Somsak said he considered it a good sign of reconciliation within the Pheu Thai Party. Before the House meeting began yesterday morning, a telephone operator at the Parliament building alerted security officials about a male caller who told her that bombs had been planted at six locations in the compound.

The call was made from a mobile phone, according to the operator.

Police Maj-General Wichai Sangpraphai, commander of the Metropolitan Police 1 Bureau, said a search of the compound had found nothing suspicious. He said the police would investigate further in an attempt to identify the caller.

The House meeting went ahead without disruption, with the oldest MP, 83-year-old Chai Chidchob from the Bhum Jai Thai Party, acting as temporary chair. A total of 429 MPs attended the meeting.

The meeting began with the participants observing a moment of silence in homage to Princess Bejaratana who passed away recently.

Chai then led the MPs in taking an oath before performing their duties as lawmakers.

Paradon Prisanananthakul from the coalition Chart Thai Pattana Party then nominated Pheu Thai's Somsak as the House Speaker. No other nominations were made and, in accordance with parliamentary regulations, the sole candidate was considered to be elected.

Later, Wannarat Charnnukul from the coalition Chart Pattana Puea Pandin Party nominated Pheu Thai MP Charoen Jankomol as first Deputy Speaker, and Santasak Jaroon-ngampichet nominated Pheu Thai's Visut Chainarun as second Deputy Speaker. Again, there were no rival candidates for these positions.

Shortly before the meeting began, Chuwit Kamolvisit from the Rak Prathet Thai Party removed the rival Chart Thai Pattana Party's sign from a front bench and replaced it with his own party's sign. He said that he preferred the new position because it was good according to the principle of feng shui.

His act apparently disappointed key Chart Thai Pattana figures such as Chumpol Silapa-archa and Sanan Kachornprasart, but they agreed to change position in order to prevent possible confusion.

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-- The Nation 2011-08-03

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BT218M budget for royal funeral

By PAKAMARD JAICHALARD

THE NATION

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The Fine Arts Department has allocated an initial budget of Bt218.1 million for constructing HRH Princess Bejaratana's royal crematorium and related components, and restoring the "Phra Yannamas" royal golden palanquin with three poles, and the royal chariots. Another Bt17 million would be needed to produce the funeral archive and commemorative books.

Princess Bejraratana, the only child of King Rama VI and Queen Suvadhana, passed away on July 27 at the age of 85.

Following a meeting yesterday, outgoing Culture Minister Nipit Intarasombat said the ministry's part in this royal funeral would be largely with the Fine Arts Department and the Religious Affairs Department. The latter has arranged |religious rituals, including the Abhidhamma recitation for 8-10 months.

The Fine Arts Department's tasks are: building the royal crematorium and related components and restoring the "Phra Yannamas" and royal chariots; producing the royal funeral archive and commemorative books; and arranging sorrowful traditional music five times a day during the mourning period from July 28. The department estimated a cost of Bt208.8 million for the crematorium and construction of related components at Sanam Luang, Nipit said. The designing would take one month and the construction less than 10 months.

The restoration of "Phra Yannamas" and the chariots would cost Bt9.3 million, he said. Another Bt17 million was needed for the funeral archive and commemorative books, he added.

The department would present all the details to the prime minister tomorrow, he said.

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-- The Nation 2011-08-03

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Abhisit turns 47

Outgoing Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Wednesday held a religious ceremony to mark his birthday. He turns 47.

The ceremony, held at Sukhumvit residence and attended by nine Buddhist monks, was private and off limit to the press corps.

Reporters on Government House beat turned out in full force, however, to cover the event and wishing the outgoing PM a happy birthday.

An Abhisit Fanclub member, Pakkanat Tanyabutr, sent a gift - a collage depicting Abhisit in the chronology of his administration.

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-- The Nation 2011-08-03

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Royal command issued on House speaker and two deputies

By The Nation

His Majesty the King has endorsed the appointments of Somsak Kiatsuranont as the House speaker and his two deputies, Charoen Chaikomol and Visuth Chainaroon.

Outgoing Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva countersigned the royal command which was released on Wednesday.

Somsak is expected this afternoon to hold a ceremony at Parliament to formally receive the royal command.

With the King's endorsement, the House speaker and his two deputies are now installed in office following their uncontested nominations by the House on Tuesday.

Somsak's first order of business is to convene the House session to elect the prime minister. The vote for Pheu Thai MP Yingluck Shinawatra to become PM is expected to take place on Friday.

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-- The Nation 2011-08-03

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Pheu Thai to revamp 15-yr free education scheme

BANGKOK, 3 August 2011 (NNT) – The Pheu Thai Party is looking to revise the 15-year free education scheme implemented by the Democrat Party in order to eliminate economic disparities in some areas.

Member of the Pheu Thai educational team Phawit Thongroj disclosed that his party had discovered that the 15-year free education scheme, which was previously adopted during the Democrat-led administration, was contributing to economic disparities in some parts of the country. He explained that the scheme had set the same amount of financial support for all students despite their different needs. Moreover, the scheme is said to have failed to provide the youngsters with access to extracurricular books as the budget allocated is only adequate for in-class textbooks.

Therefore, Mr Phawit pointed out that Pheu Thai would modify the free education scheme by taking into account the financial status of each student’s family in order to determine the amount of support on an individual basis. The schools will also be allowed to decide whether they would like to participate in the scheme as some of them might have been displeased with certain conditions that tend to complicate their management system.

However, Mr Phawit said Pheu Thai’s direction towards the free education scheme had only been briefly drafted. There will be more clarity after the incoming government has announced its policies.

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-- NNT 2011-08-03 footer_n.gif

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Thaksin to Visit Japan

A foreign news agency has reported that ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is prepared to travel to Japan later this month.

A Japanese news agency reported that former premier Thaksin Shinawatra plans to travel to Japan on August 22 to 28.

Thaksin has reportedly been invited, by the Japanese Education, Business and Cultural Committee, to speak about politics and business focusing on Japan, China and Southeast Asia.

Academics, entrepreneurs and economists are expected to attend the event in Tokyo.

The news report also mentioned a visit to the disaster-hit sites in eastern Japan on August 25 to 26 to determine the effectiveness of the post-disaster recovery efforts.

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-- Tan Network 2011-08-03

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