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Thailand Live Wednesday 24 Aug 2011


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Thailand Live Wednesday 24 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 23 Aug 2011

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WORLD GRAND PRIX FINALS

Thai women ready to take on the world elite

By Preechachan Wiriyanupappong

The Nation,

Macau

Asian champions Thailand, who made history on Sunday by qualifying for the World Grand Prix Finals for the first time ever, arrived in Macau on Monday to revive their fortunes against the world's elite teams.

Thailand lost to Olympic champions and world No 1 Brazil in straight sets in their last preliminary round Pool K at the Keelawes 1 Gymnasium, which saw 7,000 home spectators cheering their side.

Despite the defeat, the Thais earned the berth due to circumstances going in their favour. Poland, who had a great chance of qualifying, failed to put up a fight against China and lost in straight sets, virtually handing the slot on a platter to Thailand. The Thai team, who learned about their fate late on Sunday night, had little time to pack their bags and take the early Monday morning flight to Macau.

Hosts China, two-time world champions Russia, Serbia and Thailand in Pool A, eight-time World Grand Prix champions Brazil, title-holders the US, the current World Cup and World Grand Champions Cup winners Italy and the Montreux Volley Masters champions Japan are in Pool B.

The round-robin preliminaries will take place from today, with the US taking on Japan in the curtain-raiser at 11pm, Thailand challenge the tall and towering Russia at 1.30pm, Brazil play Italy at 5pm and China face Serbia at 8pm.

After the preliminaries, top two teams from each pool will advance to the semi-finals, while the teams finishing third in both pools will battle it out for the fifth place and the teams finishing fourth in both pools will fight it out in the 7th-8th place play-off.

Since the inception of World Grand Prix in 1993, Thailand appeared in it on nine occasions. They finished eighth in 2002, 10th in 2003, 10th in 2004, 12th in 2005, 11th in 2006, 11th in 2008, 8th and 10th in 2009 and last year respectively.

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-- The Nation 2011-08-24

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CentralWorld attackers aimed 'to loot goods'

By Pravit Rojanaphruk

The Nation

A prosecutor witness in the arson case at CentralWorld and Zen department store told the Criminal Court yesterday that many people who entered CentralWorld in the aftermath of the military crackdown on red-shirt protesters on May 19, 2010 were looking to loot goods.

"They probably came in to look for goods," Hansuek Samnakhoad, a senior security staff at CentralWorld, told the two presiding judges.

Hansuek said he personally saw no one setting fire to the complex although he encountered a group of some 30 to 40 men, some armed with sling shots, who had their faces covered.

Hansuek said he had not seen the two defendants before until police arrested one of them that afternoon. However, he told the court that prior to that day, he had heard voices from the red-shirt speakers talking about how they would "visit" the shopping mall if they were dispersed by the Army.

"I don't know who made the announcement but I heard it through the speakers," he said, adding that the voice also talked about going for an audience with King Louis. "I think they meant [visiting] Louis Vuitton [shop]," he said, referring to the French luxury bag seller located at the opposite Gaysorn Plaza mall.

A legal clerk from the Southern Criminal Court informed The Nation yesterday that the court is going to forbid notes from being taken while the court is in session. No explanation or written order was shown. A request from The Nation's reporter to see a proper court order and the justification for it had not been heeded as of press time yesterday.

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-- The Nation 2011-08-24

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PM's help sought for jailed Veera, Ratree

By Chanikarn Poomhirun

The Nation

Phetchaburi Senator Sumon Sutawiriyawat and five supporters have written to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra asking her help to gain the release of two Thai nationalist activists jailed in Cambodia.

Veera Somkwamkidand and Ratree Pipattanapaiboon were arrested together with five other Thai nationals, including Democrat Party MP Panich Vikitsreth, on December 29 while inspecting a disputed border area near Sa Kaew province's Ban Nongchan.

They are being held in Prey Sar prison near Phnom Penh after being sentenced to eight and six years jail, respectively, on charges of espionage.

Five members of the group were freed after pleading guilty to trespassing and received suspended jail terms from the Cambodian court.

Yingluck said she would coordinate with agencies overseeing this case to help the two Thais.

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-- The Nation 2011-08-24

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North dams release large volumes of water

By The Nation

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During a current rain-free period this week, ever brimming dams in the North are now releasing huge influx of water southwards, Royal Irrigation Department Chalit Damrongsak said yesterday.

The selected dams are those with more than 80 per cent of total capacity and the release, which began yesterday, will end Saturday, he said, adding that the time was right as it was a low tide period in addition to the lack of rain.

The drainage volume would be controlled to prevent flooding in areas in the lower North and the Central, through which the water travels, before it goes to sea outlets.

This opportunisitc drainage will not however ease flood situation in provinces connected to Yom River, where drainage system and natural or manmade water ways are sufficient to ensure speedy travel of water. The narrow structure of Yom River does not also have water ways connecting to other basins from which could have accom?modate water released, he added.

In Phitsanolok, villagers living in Bang Rakam along the Yom River suffering from stag?nant flooding are complaining about the water becoming foul and causing itches and bad smell. They are also complaining about officials of the local powergenerating agency neglecting their petitions and requests to move up electricity metres further above high flood level.

Meanwhile, flood victims living in Phichit's Pho Thalay were handed survival kits, totalling 1,000, donated by Her Majesty the Queen and those living in Bueng Na Rang district by His Royal Highness Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, also at a total of 1,000 kits.

Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya gave a large amount of cash to the families of a grandfather who drowned together with two young granchidren recently in Sam Ngarm district of Phichit.

In business areas in Thab Khlo district, flash flood from Phetchabun mountain range submerged a market and a nearby communitiy, forcing closure of shops and driving vendors to set up their stalls along a nearby road. The provincial authorities later said around 20,000 Phichit residents had been affected by flooding.

A daily official update of floodinflicted damage reported 41 deaths and more than 1.14 milion people suffering. The flooding has swept through 4,642 villages in 90 districts in 14 provinces. Also damaged are 2,392,974 rai of farmland and 18,897 rai of fish and clam ponds and more than 1.5 million heads of cattle.

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-- The Nation 2011-08-24

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Resort owners offer 'proof' of legality

By The Nation

The owners of three resorts in Nakhon Ratchasima's Wang Nam Khiao district have come forward with evidence they claim will prove that their facilities are not operating inside the forest reserve.

"We are in the process of determining whether their documents are valid," Witoon Chalayonnawin, inspectorgeneral of the Forestry Department, said yesterday.

He chairs the panel looking into intrusion into the Phu Khao Luang Forest Reserve. It has found that 22 resorts were built on forestland.

Those owners were also encouraged to show their land titles.

"Produce your evidence and we will ensure justice," he said.

The landowners were given until tomorrow to appeal the encroachment charge. If they do not contact authorities by then, officials will post a demolition notice at their resorts.

Governor Rapee Pongbuppakit said the law permits forestry officials to dismantle structures inside forest reserves without waiting for criminal procedures to run their course.

Suwit Rattanamanee, directorgeneral of the department, said his agency had allowed the Agricultural Land Reform Office (ALRO) to assign over 355,700 rai of its land in Wang Nam Khiao to landless farmers.

The recipients must by law use the plots for the intended purpose of farming only and are not allowed to sell them.

"But I've heard that ALRO has found that many of the plots allocated under this programme have already become the sites of about 120 resorts and restaurants," he said.

"I would like to ask ALRO what happened?"

This point would be raised when his department asks the Council of State to interpret whether the land allocated to ALRO but not yet distributed to landless farmers still belonged to the department.

"We have viewed them as ours but ALRO thinks otherwise," he said.

Police are now investigating the alleged unlawful occupation of forestland in Wang Nam Khiao and would be asked to accompany forest officials when they went to the resorts to post the demolition notices.

"Our human resources and weapons are limited," Witoon said.

Local forest officials feared for their safety as threatening gunshots were heard during their recent inspection trip.

"I was there too. It's as if someone fired warning bullets," he said.

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-- The Nation 2011-08-24

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Court issues coal transport ban

By The Nation

The Central Administrative Court's EnvironmentCase Division yesterday issued an injunction that imposed a total ban on the transportation of coal into Samut Sakhon.

The injunction also banned the transportation of coal along the portions of Ta Chin River in Samut Sakhon and Nakhon Pathom.

The ban will remain valid until tests on the quality of water in the river are completed.

The tests will determine whether the water is contaminated with cinder or any chemical.

Samut Sakhon Governor Jullapat Saengjan was ordered to set up a panel to conduct the waterquality tests.

The court acted on locals' complaints about worsening pollution due to coal businesses in their hometown.

Sonthiya Sawasdee, a leader in the anticoal movement in Samut Sakhon, yesterday said he would call on Jullapat on Friday to ask him to check coal use by factories in the province too.

"We want to know how they get rid of cinder," he said.

According to available statistics, Samut Sakhon has hosted more than 4,000 factories. Of them, about 162 have used coal in their operations.

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-- The Nation 2011-08-24

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PMH launches flu vaccine drive

By The Nation

The Public Health Ministry hopes to give the 2009 influenza vaccine to all risk groups, totalling 2.5 million dosages, by the end of this month. About 70 per cent of people so far have received the flu shot.

Public Health Minister Wittaya Buranasiri led a sixstrong team to give 2,000 dosages of the vaccine to MPs, Senators and officials at the Parliament from yesterday until today. He said flu was common in this rainy season and the ministry had prepared the vaccine - which stimulates the body's immunity against three influenza strains within two weeks and remains for 612 months - for people at risk including medical personnel, those aged over 65 and those suffering seven chronic diseases.

The Disease Control Department reported that from January 1 until August 10 there were 21,398 flu patients and four deaths - a sharp drop from the previous year's 115,183 patients and 126 deaths.

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-- The Nation 2011-08-24

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13 hurt in Pattani bomb attack

By The Nation

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A Buddhist novice, three civilians and nine soldiers were injured when insurgents detonated a bomb aimed at troops protecting monks during alms collection yesterday morning in Pattani.

The bomb exploded at 7.15am on Paknam Road in tambon Sabarang of Muang district.

Police said insurgents hid the homemade bomb, believed to weigh about 5 kilograms, inside a cookinggas cylinder and put the tank on a vending cart left unattended at the roadside.

The insurgents detonated the bomb when troops arrived in a truck to help the monks transfer the collected alms back to the temple.

Two soldiers were severely injured. They were identified as Private Sathit Chanlao, 22, and Private Khaokhom Paibod, 22. Sathit suffered cuts to his head and body and Khaokhom was cut on his legs and body.

A novice, Jiranuwat Nilsuwan, 21, from the Lakmuang Temple, was slightly injured in his left thigh.

The three injured civilians were identified as Prom na Rangsi, 46, Wandee Sae Nguan, 50, and Rosayati Makasem, 25.

The bomb impact also shattered the windows of about 20 houses nearby and damaged three motorcycles.

The injured soldiers came from Battalion 304 of Pattani Task Force 23.

Earlier, a forward unit of troops from the battalion had checked part of the road and given the green light for monks to collect alms there.

Authorities believe that once the forward unit had left and the monks were blessing the alms givers, an insurgent sneaked in and left the bomb in the vending cart. The bomb was detonated when the troops in charge of transporting the collected alms arrived in a truck. The monks were standing about 15 metres away, police said.

Pattani Buddhism Office director Theerachit Bovornnanthiwat expressed concern the attack would arouse feelings among local Buddhists and could lead to community problems.

He also urged more intensive security plans for local monks and said Nopparat Benjawattananan, director of the National Buddhism Bureau, would visit the injured on Saturday and meet with security officials and related agencies.

In Yala's Muang district, a volunteer military ranger was killed and another injured when a roadside bomb went off at 12.25 yesterday morning in Ban Ta Loh, tambon Lidon. The two were riding a motorcycle from the base on a regular patrol of the area.

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-- The Nation 2011-08-24

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High web rankings for Thai varsities

By The Nation

Four Thai universities have ranked among the world's top 500 highereducational institutes in terms of web publications and openaccess initiatives.

Ranked in 316th place is Kasetsart University. On 334th is Chulalongkorn University. Mahidol University is 443rd while the Prince of Songkla University is in 448th place.

The information is based on the Second 2011 Edition of the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities.

The Webometrics Ranking intends to motivate both institutions and scholars to have a web presence that reflects their activities accurately.

Four indicators used in the ranking were size, visibility, rich files, and scholar.

Size means the number of pages recovered from the engines Google, Yahoo, and Bing Search.

Visibility means the total number of unique external links received (inlinks) by a site, according to Yahoo Site Explorer.

Rich Files refer to academic and publication activities in file formats like Adobe Acrobat (.pdf), Adobe PostScript (.ps), Microsoft Word (.doc) and Microsoft Powerpoint (.ppt). These data were extracted using Google, Yahoo and Bing.

Scholar refers to data that is a combination of items published between 2006 and 2010 included in Google Scholar and the global output (2004 2008) obtained from Scimago SIR.

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-- The Nation 2011-08-24

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Boonjong gets red card for 2010 by-election

By The Nation

The Election Commission yesterday ruled to disqualify last year's by-election outcome in Nakhon Ratchasima due to campaign violations involving Bhum Jai Thai MP Boonjong Wongtrairat.

"By a majority decision of three-to-two votes, the EC issued a red card to Boonjong," EC member Somchai Juengprasert said. Somchai said the investigative report concluded that Boonjong was involved in throwing a party for kamnan and village headmen to sway votes, a campaigning offence.

Under the election law, the EC is obliged to forward its ruling for a judicial review by the Supreme Court's Election Cases Division. Should the highest court endorse the red card, Boonjong's by-election victory would be cancelled. Further-more his red card will trigger a separate judicial review by the Constitution Court to determine whether there is ground for party dissolution.

Boonjong said he would have to study how and why he got a red card before deciding on his next move. He vowed to clear his name in courts.

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-- The Nation 2011-08-24

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Deputy minister quits as party-list MP

By The Nation

Deputy Transport Minister Chatt Kuldiloke yesterday resigned his legislative position as a party-list MP.

Chatt said his resignation, which would become effective this Thursday, would pave the way for the runner-up candidate to fill the seat.

"It's my personal decision [to quit] and I don't mean to set a precedent for anyone to follow. I shall devote my attention to my jobs in the government" Chatt said.

He added that he was not sure if other ministers would also resign.

Some of them have debating skills that can prove useful during a parliamentary debate.

Chatt is the first Pheu Thai party-list MP to resign his legislative position. Danuporn Punnakanta will be next in line to be a party-list MP.

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-- The Nation 2011-08-24

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Storm-related floods destroy 168 roads nationwide

BANGKOK: -- Floods triggered by tropical storm Nock-Ten destroyed 168 rural roads in Thailand's North, Northeast and Central regions from July 28 to Aug 29, Director-General Vichan Kunakulsawat of the Department of Rural Roads said Tuesday.

The cost of damage is estimated at about Bt1.036 billion. Among the 168 damaged roads, 154 are still usable while 14 roads have been totally ruined, the worst being a road in the central province of Lopburi that needs urgent repair.

In the Northeast, 49 roads in nine provinces sustained damage estimated at Bt225 million, while in the North, destruction of portions of 118 roads in 15 provinces brought losses of Bt 812 million. (MCOT online news)

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-- TNA 2011-08-24

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Weng pressing for charter rewrite

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BANGKOK, 24 August 2011 (NNT) – Pheu Thai party-listed MP Medical Doctor Weng Tojirakarn will push forward constitutional amendment in the next three months while affirming the Party’s decision to return reconciliation to the Thai society.

Medical Doctor Weng announced that the Pheu Thai Party will do two main things, including returning reconciliation to the society and rewrite the charter to make it more democratic. He said reconciliation is not to forget problems but to find and solve them.

The MP, also core leader of the United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), noted that to create reconciliation, the truth must be revealed. He uttered that there must be irregularities in Thailand as, he claimed, war weapons were used to kill citizens in the political protest in 2010.

As for the amnesty for Pol Lt-Col Thaksin Shinawatra, Medical Doctor Weng responded that it depends on people of the whole nation. Regarding the charter rewrite, he termed the 2007 Constitution as the most hideous in the world as its Section 309 recognizes a coup d’état a legitimate action.

The MP exclaimed that anyone trying to protect the 2007 edition of the charter is equal to saving the ugliness property of the country. He said after the Pheu Thai Party is successful in solving economic problems in the next three months, the constitutional amendment will be raised.

Medical Doctor Weng explained that the charter rewrite can be made by a Constitutional Drafting Assembly comprising representatives from the 77 provinces of the country, and when it is completed, people nationwide will be asked if they agree with the drafted charter or not.

The UDD key figure said the Pheu Thai Party has to create reconciliation this year and deems charter rewrite a very urgent agenda. He vowed that from now on soldiers should never be ordered or empowered to shoot at civilians anymore.

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-- NNT 2011-08-24 footer_n.gif

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