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Thailand Live Sunday 15 Aug 2010

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Thailand Live Sunday 15 August 2010

News, Bits and Tweets

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Related topic: Thailand Live Saturday 14 August 2010

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Suthep: No order 'yet' from PM to discuss temple row with Cambodia

BANGKOK: -- Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said Saturday that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has not yet ordered him to Cambodia to discuss ending the two countries’ disagreement regarding the ancient Preah Vihear.

Mr Suthep said he still had no details of the planned visited of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to Cambodia during which the UN chief is expected to discuss the temple issue with Cambodian government leaders.

A report by the Associated Press from Phnom Penh on Thursday said that Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen will raise the temple issue with Mr Ban during his official visit to Cambodia October 27-28.

Mr Hun Sen on Monday proposed an international conference to discuss the dispute “because the bilateral discussion is at an impasse now.”

The Thai government, however, opposes the idea as unnecessary because the 2000 Memorandum of Understanding, signed by the two governments, provides a sufficient framework for a solution.

Urging the Thai public to not pay much attention to Mr Hun Sen’s criticism of the Thai government, Mr Suthep said both countries are close neighbours and the Cambodian government could “say anything as long as it neither hurts Thai sovereignty nor its image”.

The International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that the 11th century temple belongs to Cambodia, and UNESCO named it a World Heritage site in 2008 after Cambodia applied for the status.

The latest problem arose when Thailand objected to Phnom Penh's submitting a management plan for the temple late last month to UNESCO’s World Heritage Commission (WHC). The agency decided on July 29 to defer the decision until it meets next year.

The two countries have been locked in a dispute over a 4.6 sq km patch of land near the cliff-top temple. (MCOT online news)

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-- TNA 2010-08-15

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Panich ready for all Govt positions

BANGKOK (NNT) -- Democrat Candidate Panich Vikitsret voiced his readiness for the MP position and the mission at all ministries once the official result of the election is endorsed by the Election Commission.

The Democrat candidate for Bangkok Constituency 6 stated his willingness to work in any governmental positions as his life has always been prepared for the opportunities.

Asked whether he was ready to hold the position of Foreign Affairs Minister due to his past working experience at the ministry, Mr Panic only said that he would like to see some changes in budget allocation and human resources, particularly the appropriate appointment of envoys to the great nations such as Japan, India and the United States.

The future MP also pledged to impose his ministerial power in a more administering way regardless of positions authorized by the Democrat Party.

Mr Panich managed to retain the parliamentary seat for the Democrats, which was left vacant following the death of cancer on June 11 of Thiwa Ngernyuang.

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-- NNT 2010-08-15 footer_n.gif

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Govt suggested to revise weapon amnesty bill

BANGKOK (NNT) -- The Government is suggested to revise the weapon amnesty bill as loopholes have been detected.

President of the Laws Society of Thailand, Sak Korsaengruang on Saturday suggested the Government to fully cover the loopholes of the bill to grant amnesty to those who return state weapons to authorities. The bill has covered those involved with violence during the protests of anti-government United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship from March to May in Bangkok and those who incited the Southern unrest.

Mr Sak disclosed that the loopholes of the law can be eliminated by stating the due date of returning, while a through revision and solemn enforcement is needed for other related bills.

Mr Sak admittedly stated that it was undeniable that the Thai law had been desecrated by the weapon amnesty imposition as those who stole state weapons were clearly the intentional offenders.

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-- NNT 2010-08-15 footer_n.gif

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Oil Traders reduce oil retailing price by 60 satang/liter

BANGKOK (NNT) -- Bangchak Petroleum announces the reduction of retailing price of all types of oil by 60 satang per liter, effective from 05.00 hrs on 15 August 2010 onward.

According to Bangchak Petroleum, prices of all types of oil will be decreased by 0.60 THB from Sunday morning onward, resulting in the price of benzene 91 reduced to 36.64 THB/liter; gasohol 95 is at 34.84 THB/liter; gasohol 91 at 30.34 THB/liter; E20 at 18.82 THB/liter; diesel is 28.59 THB/liter; and diesel B25 is 27.93 THB/liter.

Oil prices decrease is in line with the continuous cost reduction of crude oil in the global market. Caltex has declared oil retail price reduction by 60 satang/liter as well.

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-- NNT 2010-08-15 footer_n.gif

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4 killed in far South

By The Nation

Insurgents killed four people in Yala and Pattani provinces yes-terday. A Buddhist married cou-ple were killed on their way to a rub-ber plantation in Yala early yesterday morning.

They were Sakhon Meethong, 42, and his wife, Sompit Meethong, 41. Police said the two were rubber tappers who worked for hire.

Also in Yala, a soldier, Corp Suriyan Jamsuwan, 25, was killed on the way to see his wife's home in Narathiwat. His wife Fatimoh Ardae, 26, accom-panied him on a motorcycle, but she did not sustain any injuries.

Meanwhile, a police sergeant major was fatally shot by insur-gents on his way to his police station in Pattani.

The shooting happened at 8.30am on the Narathiwat-Pattani Road in Tammasood Village in Yaring district.

Pol Sgt Maj Taleh Doloh died on his way to Yaring hospital after the shooting. Police said Taleh was riding his motorcycle to work when two insurgents on a motorcycle caught up with him and opened fire at him.

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-- The Nation 2010-08-15

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New milk packets

Packages of school milk will be changed to lure more students to drink milk provided at schools.

Dairy Farming Promotion Organisation of Thailand (DPO)'s marketing department head Suchart Jariyalertsak, who is also responsible for the school milk project, said the DPO was set to propose a committee to change the current school milk packages, which have been the same for 15 years.

The current packages were not as colourful others produced by private companies - children liked ones made by the private companies more than those of the DPO. "More colourful packages will arouse students to drink school milk," he said.

Suchart said the government allocated Bt14 billion to provide milk to eight million students in kindergarten and primary levels.

However, many schools said that many students did not drink the school milk immediately handed out at their schools day by day. Many took it home and it ended up getting rotten.

The DPO wants kids to drink milk every day to prevent its milk being wasted.

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-- The Nation 2010-08-15

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Lampang hit by flash floods, Kalasin on alert

By THE NATION ON SUNDAY

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About 300 residents in Lampang's Chae Hom district were hit by flash floods and river runoff yesterday.

They were under 50-150 centimetres of water after heavy downpours for four hours in the early morning.

The floodwater also blocked traffic, making roads impassable for over an hour.

Elsewhere in Lampang, assistant village head Butr Thepwong, 50, was electrocuted and died while trying to help villagers residents affected by flash floods.

Ranong's seven waterfalls - Ngao, Punyabarn, Tonphet, Bokkrai, Choomsaeng, Suwansiri and Rakloi - were put on alert for possible flash floods.

The Northeastern province of Kalasin's meteorological station warned residents in Sam Chai, Kham Muang, Somdej, Na Khoo and Khao Wong districts, especially those located near the Phuphan mountain range, of possible mudslides.

Those living along the Pao and Chi rivers in Kamalasai and Khongchai districts should also brace for flash floods, authorities said.

The Hydrology and Water Management Centre for the Upper Northern Region is monitoring water in Lamphun's Kuang and Tha rivers after water levels were only one metre lower than crisis levels that could cause floods.

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-- The Nation 2010-08-15

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Youths arrested for fatal stabbing

By THE NATION ON SUNDAY

Nine youths aged from 15 to 18 have been arrested for murder following publication of security camera footage showing a group of teenagers stabbing a 17-year-old rival to death in a Bangkok internet cafe on Thursday, Metropolitan Police Area 5 chief Maj-General Anuchai Lekbamrung said yesterday.

The murder of Pisit Khaokhiew was believed to stem from long-standing rivalry and disputes between Bang Kho Laem district's Wat Pai Ngern community and Wat Sai community youngsters. So, Wat Phrayakrai precinct's police are considering trying to get parents of youngsters in the two groups to achieve understanding and reconciliation.

The murder occurred at 5am in a shop that should have closed hours earlier, so police also intend to punish the owner for opening beyond legal limits, Anuchai said.

Wat Phrayakrai police also presented three youngsters, aged 16-17, who were arrested for another murder case, in which 20-year-old Wichet Boonyapak was shot dead. Police said the suspects opened fire on a group of teenage rivals who hung out near a Charoenrat Road taxi garage early on Thursday.

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-- The Nation 2010-08-15

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Dengue fever toll jumps 83%

By DUANGKAMON SAJIRAWATTANAKUL

THE NATION ON SUNDAY

More than 50,000 people have suffered from dengue fever this year, and 63 have died, Deputy Public Health Minister Pansiri Kulanartsiri said yesterday.

Pansiri said records from January to August 3 showed some 54,592 patients had caught the fever - an average of 230 people a day.

She said that the dengue epidemic this year was up from the same period last year by 83 per cent.

In the South, 13,045 people contracted the fever, along with 14,509 patients in the Central region, 13,635 in the Northeast and 7,325 people in the North.

Of all the patients, seven were aged less than 28 days and 409 aged 65 or older.

The Department of Disease Control's director-general, Dr Manit Teeratantikanont, said 80 per cent of the patients were bitten by mosqui-toes inside their homes.

Lots of people suffering from dengue fever indicated that the quantity of common house mosquitoes that carry the disease was high. There is no vaccine for preventing dengue fever, said Pansiri, who urged all households nationwide to help reduce the number of mosquitoes to pro-tect themselves from the fever. She advised people to try to get rid of mosquito larvae in vessels holding water by changing the water every seven days.

Pansiri said people should cover vessels holding water to prevent mosquitoes from laying their eggs.

The deputy minister, who was accompanied by Manit, presided yester-day over the opening of a concert in Samut Prakan province to promote dengue fever protection.

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-- The Nation 2010-08-15

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NACC may seek indictment of Juthamas

By THE NATION, AGENCIES

The national anti-graft agency is likely to seek legal indictment of former Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Juthamas Siriwan in connection with a bribery scandal involving Hollywood film-makers, its spokesman said yesterday.

Klanarong Chantik, spokesman for the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), said in a telephone interview that his agency could only ask Juthamas to defend herself before the NACC. If she did not show up, the NACC had no authority to bring her for investigation and it would mean that she had opted not to defend herself.

The NACC had asked the former TAT governor to give information but she had sent a letter to the agency, saying she needed time to prepare and look through documents on the matter. But Juthamas has yet to turn up at the NACC. However, Klanarong said, if the NACC found that she was guilty, it would then forward the case to the Office of the Attorney-General so the public prosecutors could indict her and take the matter to court.

On Thursday, a Los Angeles court sentenced film producers Gerald Green and his wife Patricia to six months in jail and six months of home detention for paying US$1.8 million (Bt57.4 million) in bribes to Thai officials, including Juthamas, in exchange for a deal to manage the Bangkok International Film Festival between 2002 and 2007. They must also pay $250,000 in restitution.

The couple was found guilty of paying bribes to the former tourism chief via bank accounts in Singapore, the isle of Jersey and Britain set up in the names of Juthamas's daughter Jittisopa Siriwan and a friend.

US prosecutors said the Greens had received more than US$13.5 million in revenue from the contract. Mrs Green was also found guilty of submitting false United States tax returns.

Klanarong said the case against Juthamas was being investigated by NACC commissioner Methi Krongkaew, who attended the court hearing in Los Angeles on Thursday in the Greens' case.

The case against Juthamas would progress once Methi returned to Thailand. Juthamas has not appeared to defend herself since being notified by the NACC in late May. The authorities involved in her case say that her whereabouts are unknown.

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-- The Nation 2010-08-15

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American killed in Phuket by Briton

By The Nation on Sunday

PHUKET - A British man allegedly stabbed an American to death after he was beaten in a fistfight in front of his friends at a Phuket beer bar, police said yesterday morning.

At 5.30am yesterday, police found American Dashawn Longfellow, 23, in a guestroom at the Yanui Paradise Resort after he was stabbed in the chest. They also collected two bloody knives 300 metres from the resort's entrance.

Witnesses identified the murderer as a British man aged 25-28 years old. A police investigation found the Briton boasted to his friends in the bar about his Muay Thai skills and picked a fight with Longfellow, a stranger.

Longfellow, who had also learnt Muay Thai in Phuket, punched back and knocked the British man to the ground. The men's friends separated and the American left the bar.

But the Briton reportedly followed Longfellow to avenge his embarrassment and fatally stabbed him with two knives that he took from a nearby con-venience store, before fleeing the scene on a motorbike.

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-- The Nation 2010-08-15

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Seh Daeng's driver held at Army base

By PIYANUCH THAMNUKASETCHAI

THE NATION ON SUNDAY

The personal chauffeur of the late red-shirt military strategist Maj-General Khattiya Sawasdipol is being held at an undisclosed army camp for interrogation over his alleged involvement in anti-government protests from March to May, Department of Special Investigation (DSI) chief Tharit Pengdit said yesterday.

Jakchalat "Pol" Khongsuwan, 37, could be detained for up to 30 days without the presence of lawyers or relatives before formal charges had to laid against him, Tharit said. DSI officers had joined in the questioning and care of Jakchalat at the camp, he said.

A source at the DSI said the authorities had followed Jakchalat's movements continuously after the anti-government rally ended until he was arrested in Maha Sarakham. He is expected to provide useful and in-depth information.

The DSI has not filed terrorist charges yet because, if he were charged, he could be in police custody for up to 48 hours only, the source said. Then he would have to be brought to apply for detention at a court prison and his lawyer or relatives' presence would be required throughout the questioning, the source said.

Whether Jakchalat will be protected by the DSI as witness for its terrorism case or not would depend on his testimony, which would have to be useful and in line with circumstantial evidence, the source said.

Jakchalat was arrested - and released on bail by the Criminal Court - on March 8, along with six other suspects including Maj-General Khattiya, for violating the Firearms Act and colluding in an attempt to harbour the wanted man Pornwat Thongsomboon.

Pornwat was charged with using electronic media to incite unrest and threatening public order after uploading a video clip to YouTube, which the authorities said was "disruptive of public order".

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-- The Nation 2010-08-15

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No reshuffle after budget bill: Suthep

By THE NATION ON SUNDAY

Coalition relations 'healthy' despite bus project setback

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban yesterday dismissed speculation there would be a Cabinet reshuffle after deliberation on the budget bill.

Suthep said the Democrat Party's relations with the Bhum Jai Thai Party were still healthy and coalition stability remained strong despite the decision by Cabinet to defer the NGV bus project proposed by Transport Minister Sophon Saram of Bhum Jai Thai.

"There is nothing that would escalate into severe problems. Personal dissatisfaction is one thing, the party's relationship with the coalition government is another matter,'' he said.

Thepthai Senpong, spokesman for the Democrat Party leader, yesterday thanked the Puea Pandin Party for announcing that all party MPs would vote in support of the budget bill even though the party's Cabinet members were replaced in the recent Cabinet reshuffle and a faction had withdrawn from the coalition.

"We thank them for their spirit and responsibility for their support because if the bill is not passed, a political change is inevitable,'' he said.

Meanwhile, the opposition Pheu Thai Party's Bangkok MP Anudit Nakhontap revealed that key coalition party leaders were busy lobbying coalition parties to toe the line and vote in support of the budget bill after Parliament was forced to close due to the lack of a quorum on Wednesday.

"They wanted to be sure that Parliament would not have to be closed due to lack of a quorum like last week which happened because the Cabinet resolved that the NGV- bus leasing project needs further study, upsetting some coalition party leaders,'' he said.

Anudit said he believed bargaining that put the country at stake was in the making and everyone could only wait and see if there would be enough MPs attend when Parliament deliberates the budget bill on Wednesday and Thursday.

Deputy Transport Minister Suchart Chokchaiwattanakorn said Parliament would clear the budget bill and every single Bhum Jai Thai Party MP would vote in support of the bill.

He dismissed as "insane" the Pheu Thai Party MPs' allegation that MPs were offered up to seven- to eight-digit sums of money to vote for the bill.

"The Opposition is just trying to create public misunderstanding. Do not pay attention. Who is going to pay five to ten million to make MPs votes for the budget bill? Only mad people do,'' he said.

Suchart said that more MPs from other parties would join the Bhum Jai Thai Party when the general election draws near.

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-- The Nation 2010-08-15

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HEADLINE MAKER

A politician in his own right now

By Budsarakham Sinlapalavan,

Kornchanok Raksaseri

The Nation on Sunday

Surabot Leekpai, newly appointed assistant to the Culture Minister, talks about draining Thailand's 'dirty water'

Since joining the Culture Ministry as a junior assistant, Surabot "Pleum" Leekpai seems to have been getting more attention from the media than Culture Minister Nipit Intarasombat himself.

Nipit offered the young man a position as deputy spokesman on political issues, which essentially means he's in charge of promoting people who do good and who create standards for good works in society. Surabot can also put forwards ideas related to the ministry's work to Nipit.

Surabot already knows that when good marketing strategies are put into play, foreign pop cultures quickly dominate adolescent fashion. That's why he's decided to use clever marketing and celebrities to promote Thai culture and a pride in being Thai.

"Fashion is very personal and it depends on the individual's preference. But it's attitude that counts," he says.

Surabot is particularly proud of muay thai - Thai kickboxing - which he studied for three years after admiring its strength on Youtube clips and learning about its fame and popularity on the global stage.

He's also a competent musician with a talent for the ranad ek (Thai xylophone)

The only son of former prime minister Chuan, Surabot, has been a media darling since the age of nine. Today, at 22, he's inevitably compared with his father, who's currently Democrat Party chief adviser.

Since he was young, Surabot has repeatedly said he wanted to go into politics. Veteran politician Chuan, on the other hand, has always made it clear that he would be prefer his son to stay well away. Little wonder then that the media is asking whether the Culture Ministry post is the young man's first step into the career he's always wanted.

"I cannot say at the moment whether this is the first step on my political path or just a trial. If I find politics very different from my plan, then I might leave politics forever and pursue another career path," says the new graduate in political science from Ramkhamhaeng University candidly.

His plan, which he acknowledges will take time, is to remove the dirt in Thai politics out and replace it with clean democracy, the way it should be.

"Proper politics should be free from business interests. It's a vicious cycle. Businessmen invest so they want to get their money back any way they can, which is usually by dominating politics," he says.

He compares those businessmen in the guise of politicians to "dirty water", saying that they make up more than half of the Thai political arena. He says he has many friends with similar aims and calls this group the "new water". The new water, he adds, means the new and clean generation of politicians, who will come into power only when the "dirty water" gradually drains away from Thai politics.

"If the new water is too little, it will be overwhelmed by the dirty water. So what's the point? I believe the dirty water must go away at some point. But if it doesn't, I'd rather stay away from politics for good," he says.

Among the members of the group are friends who are not just capable but also well known. But right now, only Surabot is ready to take the step into politics.

"We don't have to join the same party. But we've agreed that we will work together, not fight one another in the parliament," he says.

Asked whether he wanted eventually to be premier, the talkative Surabot takes a deep breath then sighs. "I want to and I don't want to. As a child I wanted to be PM like my father. I'm not saying this to look good. I'm happy to see others happy. But if I'm PM but cannot do good for others, I'd rather not."

"My father is my idol as he always keeps morality, justice and the law in mind. But I don't want to do everything just like him. Otherwise, I will always be Nong Pleum, Chuan's son and not Pleum, who is the real Surabot," he says.

While Chuan is known as a "Honey-coated Blade" due to his art of speaking (sweet and sharp), outspoken Surabot is sometimes regarded as the "Little Blade".

"I'm a very straightforward person but I have a different style from my father. My father has always taught me what I should or should not say," he says.

"Another difference is that I'm hot-tempered. That might be because I have been through some hard times since I was young. That taught me how the world goes round and made me stronger. I don't hurt other people first. But if anybody hurts me or my family, I will hurt that person 100 times," he says, stressing that he's only talking about personal conflicts.

Looking at the larger picture, Surabot says people should learn from experience, get over the past but not keep anger inside them or seek chances to get revenge.

"I'd rather not comment about the anti-government protests. The time has passed to pick up on the falsehoods of either side. Now it's time to reconcile. The leader can come from any colour; the only goal must be the country's interest," he says.

When pressed to talk about the three main colours - red, yellow and blue - even with the eye of an artist, Surabot refuses to look at any pure colour and suggests instead that he examines them either mixed or painted on the same piece of paper.

"Only then can I tell if the picture is beautiful or not."

Watch the video of Surabot's interview at www.nationmultimedia.com.

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-- The Nation 2010-08-15

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