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Thailand Live Saturday 21 Aug 2010

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Thailand Live Saturday 21 August 2010

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 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 Friday 20 August 2010

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Emergency Rule Held in 7 Provinces

The Center for the Resolution of Emergency Situation has agreed to maintain the state of emergency in seven provinces while ordering the police to keep a close watch on the moves of red-shirt supporters in the provinces.

The Center for the Resolution of Emergency Situation, or CRES, held its meeting today, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister in charge of security affairs Suthep Thaugsuban, in his capacity as CRES director, and attended

by Tharit Pengdit, director general of the Department of Special Investigation and new national police chief nominee Police General Wichian Potposi.

CRES Spokesman Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the enforcement of the Emergency Decree is still needed and today's meeting did not discuss lifting the state of emergency in the remaining seven provinces.

As for the red-shirt group's plan to hold activities in provinces where the emergency decree has been lifted, Sansern said Suthep has instructed police in those provinces to keep a close watch on the situation.

The CRES spokesman added that Suthep also assigned the DSI chief to clarify to the public about the autopsies of those killed in the May riots after red-shirt leader Jatuporn Prompan claimed they were not conducted under proper procedures.

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-- Tan Network 2010-08-21

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Bangchak may reduce oil prices this Saturday

BANGKOK (NNT) - Bangchak Petroleum is deciding whether to adjust down the retail prices for benzene and gasohol this Saturday.

Mr Anusorn Sangnimnuan, President of Bangchak Petroleum Plc, disclosed the possibility of a plan to reduce the retail prices of benzene and gasohol tomorrow, reasoning that the marketing margins of the two petrol types still stood at over 2 THB per liter. He, however, said the petrol price in the Singaporean market was a major key factor to the decision.

Mr Anusorn assured that the price of diesel would not reach 30 THB per liter this year, thanks to the recovering global economy. He also projected that the Dubai crude oil this year would stand at 80-85 USD per barrel on average.

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-- NNT 2010-08-21 footer_n.gif

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MRTA Expects New Lines' Completion by 2014

The Mass Rapid Transit Authority is trying to quickly resolve the land issue for the construction of the Mor Chit–Saphan Mai dark green line and other lines in time for their scheduled service in 2014.

Presiding over the ceremony to celebrate the 18th anniversary of the Mass Rapid Transit Authority, or MRTA, acting MRTA Governor Yiemchai Chatkaew said the construction plan for the Mor Chit–Saphan Mai dark green line has been altered.

The MRTA has proposed to move the train maintenance center from Don Muang area to Khu Khot in order to commence the dark green line's construction.

The change will make the rail line longer and increase its estimated construction price to around two billion baht per kilometer.

Also, the construction of the Wongwian Bang Khen station has been readjusted after the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration opposed the initial plan. The project will now use the Highway Department's land plot nearby.

The MRTA will submit all the details for the Cabinet's consideration. It is pushing for the dark green line to be in service by 2014, the same time as the Bang Yai–Bang Sue purple line's launch.

As for other rail lines like the Pak Kret–Minburi pink line, the Traffic Policy and Planning Office has assessed the MRTA's plans and concluded that the pink line should be a monorail since construction will be completed faster and will require less budget.

The MRTA is currently sorting out the tender and procurement conditions for the project, which is believed to be completed within the next two weeks.

Afterwards, four months will be needed to assess the project's environmental impact before submitting the report to the Cabinet to consider the construction budget. The pink line project is also expected to be completed by 2014.

The acting MRTA governor went on to say that the current Hua Lampong–Bang Sue blue line is seeing daily average passengers at 190,000, with the passenger growth rate of two to three percent each year.

When the Bang Yai-Bang Sue purple line is completed in 2014, it is expected that 100,000 more passengers will use the MRTA's service.

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-- Tan Network 2010-08-21

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DDPM warns Phichit residents of possible flashfloods

PHICHIT (NNT) -- The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) warns residents of Phichit province of sudden floods after stretches of farmland in two districts have been submerged.

A number of homes and agricultural fields in Tap Khlo and Wang Sai Phun districts of Phichit province have been inundated due to frequent heavy rains during this period. Local residents are now moving their belongings to higher grounds to prevent further damages.

The DDPM indicated that a tropical wave was currently sweeping across all regions of Thailand from the South China Sea, which would contribute to increasing rainfalls. The department hence warned people dwelling in risky areas, such as on hillsides and near waterways, to take extra precautions of flashfloods in the next few days.

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-- NNT 2010-08-21 footer_n.gif

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Govt Heedful of Attack Warning

A deputy prime minister has heeded the warning from the former head of the National Security Council and has ordered intelligence agencies to be extra attentive to developments regarding possible attacks at important venues.

Deputy Prime Minister in charge of security affairs Suthep Thaugsuban said he has taken heed of the warning by former secretary general of the National Security Council, Prasong Soonsiri, who said that the government must be wary of developments surrounding possible attacks at key venues.

The deputy prime minister has ordered intelligence agencies to be extra alert by paying attention to the smallest details in their operations in order to prevent possible attacks.

When asked whether the National Security Council or the National Intelligence Agency should be reformed, Suthep said that reforms for intelligence agencies have already been initiated.

And with the defense minister at the helm of the newly-organized intelligence operation, he noted improvements have been seen in intelligence gathering.

As for the criticism surrounding the government's continuation of the state of emergency, Suthep stated that the government will assess the pros and cons of imposing the emergency rule until the end of the year.

And since there are growing concerns about the strengthening of the Thai baht, evaluation will be made whether the Emergency Decree has affected the economy.

Nonetheless, the deputy prime minister has no intention to impose the decree until the end of this year but said the decision to lift it must be made according to the situation as his primary objective is to ensure peace and safety.

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-- Tan Network 2010-08-21

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Police promotions

By The Nation

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Six senior policemen will be named deputy national police commissioners in the upcoming reshuffle.

LtGeneral Pongsapat Pongcharoen, LtGeneral Sathaporn Laothong, LtColonel Ek Angsananont and LtColonel Assawin Kwanmueang are among those tipped to get the promotion.

Pongsapat, who is now serving as an assistant national police commissioner, yesterday said the promotion would be based on seniority.

A source said that the upcoming reshuffle would also come up with 11 new assistant national police commissioners.

The source said LtGeneral Krissada Phankongchuen had a good chance of getting promoted to this post but he requested to stay on as the commissioner of the Provincial Police Region 1.

The source said the jobs would likely go to LtGeneral Jate Mongkhonhatthi, LtGeneral Rapipat Palawong, LtGeneral Somkid Boonthanom, LtGeneral Pira Pumpichet, LtGeneral Thirawat Kitiwat, LtGeneral Wut Liptapanlop, Pol Lt General Amarin Akarawong, LtGeneral Danaithorn Wongthai, LtGeneral Rachata Yensuang, LtGeneral Chatchawal Suksonjit and LtGeneral Chalermkiat Sriworakhan.

"Deputy Metropolitan Police commissioner MajGeneral Amnuay Niammano and Central Investigation Bureau deputy commissioner MajGeneral Panya Mamen are set to be promoted to the commissioners of provincial police regions," the same source added.

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-- The Nation 2010-08-21

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Student gets 27 years in jail over killing

By The Nation

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The Criminal Court yesterday handed down a 27year jail term to a young man for conspiring to kill students from a rival school.

Natthawut Wangmuk pleaded guilty to riding the motorcycle as Panupong Jiewthongkham opened fire on students at the University of Technology Tawanok Uthenthawai Campus last December.

The Tawanok University is widely considered a rival of the Pathum Wan Institute of Technology, where Natthawut was studying at the time.

The shooting instantly killed Natthapan Krongrod, 19, and injured three other students.

Nattawut's life sentence was reduced on grounds of his confession and the fact that he was just 19 at the time of the crime.

The victim's parents said they respected the court ruling, though they lamented that nothing would bring back their only son.

Panupong is still on the run.

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-- The Nation 2010-08-21

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RED FARANG

Aussie red shirt gets his freedom

By The Nation

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The Pathum Wan Municipal Court yesterday sentenced Connor Purcell, the Australian redshirt supporter, to one and a half months in jail.

Purcell, however, was given his freedom immediately given that he had already been detained long enough.

The Australian took part in the recent redshirt rally and was prosecuted for violating the emergency decree.

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-- The Nation 2010-08-21

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PHRA VIHARN DISPUTE

Hun Sen ready to discuss Preah Vihear with Abhisit

By Supalak Ganjanakhundee

The Nation

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OBITUARY

Pramarn passes away at 96

By The Nation

Pramarn Adireksarn succumbed to a blood infection at the age of 96, leaving behind a rich political legacy spanning almost six decades, including the tumultuous period when he was the founder and leader of Chart Thai Party between 1974 and 1986.

Despite his age, he appeared in good health when his family organised a grand celebration to mark his 96th birthday in January. He even told his guests he was looking forward to meeting them again in four years for his centenary party.

He was admitted to Vichaiyut Hospital more than a week ago before developing complications from kidney failure and the respiratory system.

Born into a rural family in 1913 in Saraburi, he rose to become artillery officer, serving in his hometown following his graduation from Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy.

He was one of the youngest officers ever to be elevated to the rank of major-general before leaving the military service to serve as head of the now defunct Express Transport Organisation, a state enterprise for inter-provincial cargo delivery.

Besides distinguishing himself career-wise, he also fell in love and married Thanpuying Charoen Choonhavan from the powerful family, known as the Ratchakru clan named after the road where the family compound is located.

From 1951 to 1957, he quickly moved from the state enterprise to enter politics via the family connections of his father-in-law Field Marshal Phin Choonhavan.

He joined the Plaek Pibulsonggram government as deputy minister for interior and later for industry.

He was a member of the then ruling party, known as Seri Manangkasila.

The 1957 coup, led by Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat, curtailed the political involvement of Pramarn and the Ratchakru clan.

During the hiatus from political activities, he devoted time to build up a textile conglomerate.

Towards the end of the Thanom Kittikachorn government, an olive branch was extended to the Ratchakru clan and Pramarn re-entered the political scene.

Along with veteran politician Siri Siriyothin and Phin's son General Chatchai Choonhavan, he was one of the three founders of the Chart Thai Party in 1974. Subsequently he became the first leader of the party, which was the springboard for the Ratchakru clan to resume their political activities.

The advent of Chart Thai coincided with one of the turbulent periods in Thai political history. The party became known to represent the right-wing and the voice of the conservative, opposing the student movement.

As Chart Thai leader, Pramarn led his first electoral campaign in 1975. As the third largest party following the election, he joined the Kukrit Pramoj government in the concurrent positions of deputy prime minister and defence minister.

The collapse of the Kukrit government did not spell doom for Chart Thai. Pramarn became the first to take up the position of opposition leader in 1978 before moving on to join the coalition bandwagon under General Prem Tinsulanonda in 1980.

In the 1986 general election, he revealed his ambition and readiness to become prime minister, and fell out of favour with Prem.

To keep Chart Thai in the coalition alliance, he was forced to resign his party leadership, handing it over to Chatchai, though he remained a key figure in the political landscape.

When he served as the interior minister in 1988 under the Chatchai Choonhavan government, he received the royal command to be elevated to the honorary rank of police general.

Following the 1991 coup led by General Suchinda Kraprayoon, the Ratchakru clan was once again exiled from politics.

Due to his age and waning prospects, Pramarn began to fade out of the scene, living in semi-retirement though continuing to make forays into politics on a number of occasions during the Thaksin Shinawatra government. He could not quite manage a comeback and decided to pass on his political mantle to his son Pongpol.

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-- The Nation 2010-08-21

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Doctors want to come up with their own version of malpractice bill

By The Nation

Published on August 21, 2010

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Doctors' groups are planning to launch a signature campaign demanding that they be allowed to come up with their "own version" of the medical malpractice bill.

Dr Samphan Khomrit, secretarygeneral to the Medical Council, said five conditions would be attached to the new draft.

"If these conditions are not accepted, the entire process [of discussing and promulgating the bill proposed by NGOs and victims] would be scrapped," he said.

Samphan said he preferred it if the bill were withdrawn from House scrutiny in the coming session.

"If at least 10,000 signatures can be collected, they will serve two purposes," he said. "The House would need at least two months to verify all the names, while the doctors will be able to have a say as advisers to the House budgetvetting committee.

"Or the government's term may come to an end in the meantime, which would serve our purpose," he said, without explaining.

The doctors are campaigning against a bill put forward by NGOs and victims, because they say the proposed criminal prosecution and high compensations are unfair.

Dr Wisut Latchasewee, an adviser to the House committee on public health, said the bill should state that the payment would only come from the government, not hospitals, in malpractice cases.

Victims or relatives should also give up their right to lodge lawsuits after they have agreed to accept the money. A budget should be earmarked each year for the compensations, and returned to the government's coffers each year to prevent corruption or useless spending, he said.

Dr Prachumphorn Boonjaroen, from the Federations of Central and General Hospitals, said there was another bill being proposed by Dr Methee Wongsirisuwan, a neurosurgeon with Rajvithi Hospital, over and above the NGO's and doctors' versions.

Dr Methee said his version does not cover compensation to victims who suffer from drug allergies, provided doctors take all the necessary precautions. Compensation also needs to directly serve the victims, though the definition of victims would have to be verified more clearly.

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-- The Nation 2010-08-21

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MERCHANT OF DEATH

Bout being sent to US, much to Russia's anger

By The Nation, Agencies

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Thailand defended the Appeal Court's decision yesterday to extradite Viktor Bout - the Russian "Merchant of Death" - to the United States, which made Moscow very angry.

"We have to make them understand that the court ruling was in line with facts and justice, not under the political influence of any party," Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said.

The arms smuggler, meanwhile, said he would prove his innocence in the US.

"We will face the trial in the United States and win it," Russian news agency RIA Novosti quoted Bout as saying after the verdict.

Bout, said to have inspired the 2005 Hollywood film "Lord of War" starring Nicolas Cage, has been fighting extradition since he was arrested in March 2008 in Bangkok as part of a sting operation involving US agents posing as Colombian rebels.

He faces a maximum life sentence if convicted in the United States on charges including conspiracy to kill US nationals and providing material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organisation.

Bout's young daughter broke down in tears after the ruling was delivered, while his wife Alla said it was "unfair" and had been made under pressure from Washington.

Judge Jitakorn Patanasiri announced: "The court will detain him for extradition to the US."

The court ordered Bout's extradition within three months, overturning a lower court's ruling last August that rejected Washington's request that he be tried in the United States. No further judicial appeals are possible, according to the Extradition Law.

The ruling is a victory for the administration of US President Barack Obama, which summoned the Thai ambassador this week to "emphasise that this is of the highest priority to the United States", State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said.

However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called the court decision "unlawful and political". Without mentioning the United States, he said the ruling was influenced by "very strong outside pressure".

Abhisit acknowledged both sides had pressured Thailand, but insisted the court's decision was in accordance with law and fact.

Experts say Bout has been useful for Russia's intelligence apparatus, and Moscow does not want him going on trial in the United States.

Bout, a 43yearold former Soviet Air Force officer, is reputed to be one of the world's most prolific arms dealers. He has allegedly supplied weapons that fuelled civil wars in South America, the Middle East and Africa, with clients including Liberia's Charles Taylor and Libyan leader Mu'ammar Gadhafi and both sides of the civil war in Angola.

Pavel Felgenhauer, an independent Moscowbased military analyst, called Bout a "prize catch" for Washington and an embarrassment for Moscow.

"The activities he was performing involved a lot of Russian government officials. The information he has, many parties want to keep under wraps," he said.

The US could secure key military intelligence not only on Russia, but on other former Soviet states where Bout was operating, he said, adding that if Bout were to accept a plea bargain, "he could really start to sing".

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-- The Nation 2010-08-21

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Ministry intends to buy new helicopters

By The Nation

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The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry will buy new helicopters as only five of the current fleet of 14 are fit to fly.

After grounding all ministry helicopters and aircraft, Minister Suwit Khunkitti inspected the 14 and found that only five of them were operational.

The inspection follows the tragic crash of the Frenchmade AS350 1103 in Nan on Tuesday.

The oldest aircraft is 24 years old while the youngest is 18 years old. The five are now undergoing maintenance while the ones unfit for operations might be put on display on Children's Day, Suwit said.

In addition to lacking navigational radar, the AS350 that crashed also had no emergency locator transmitter (ELT) installed in it, making it difficult to locate the helicopter after it crashed.

Only three operational helicopters are installed with radar and ELT units out of a total of five. The units are installed in helicopters chosen for each mission on a flightbyflight basis, Suwit said.

The ministry's aviation division chief, Prakit Wonsrirattanakul, said the aircraft that were unfit to fly would be sold, as repair and maintenance costs for each of them were estimated at around Bt30 million.

The new aircraft being considered for purchase between 2011 and 2012 include four helicopters, possibly two helicopters with one engine and two others with two engines, he added.

The proposal will be discussed at the Cabinet's weekly meeting next Tuesday, Suwit said.

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-- The Nation 2010-08-21

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