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Thailand Live Tuesday 24 Aug 2010

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Thailand Live Tuesday 24 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 Monday 23 August 2010

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23 More Provinces under Flood Threat

Many areas in northern provinces are reeling under the effects of recent heavy rain while the weather department has warned of more possible flash floods in 23 provinces.

An overflow from the swollen Yom River is rapidly flooding Muang Sukhothai district in Sukhothai province.

Disaster relief officials have been busy building sandbag embankments to keep out floodwater. Latest reports say more than 100 households have been affected.

The Yom River level near the Sukhothai governor's residence has exceeded the critical point of 6.50 meters and has flooded the surrounding area with water as high as two meters.

Flash floods flowing from Nang Kaew Mountain and the Lao River have inundated Chiang Rai's Wiang Papao district, damaging 500 households, 20 popular riverside tourist spots and farmland in nine villages.

The district's concrete bridge has also been damaged by the floods and the Meteorological Department has warned locals residing near the Lao River banks to closely monitor the water level.

Lampang's weather station chief Thiwa Panmaisee reported that 13 districts are covered by dark rain clouds, particularly in Hangchat and Korka.

Meanwhile, the flood situation in Nakhon Sawan's Banpotpisai district remains critical as run-off rain water from the mountains continues to flood the area. Small vehicles are now unable to use the roads.

The Local Administration Department is working around the clock to help the distressed public.

To protect their rice crops, rice farmers in Phitsanulok's Bang Rakum district rent rice harvesters to collect and store their newly-planted rice crops after learning about the rising water levels in the Yom and Ping rivers.

The Phitsanulok Irrigation Department is concerned that Bang Rakum district will be badly affected by the flooding and has collected data for tomorrow's meeting to discuss preventative and relief efforts to help residents.

In its latest report, the Meteorological Department has notified provinces around Thailand of heavy rainfalls and warned locals in the northern provinces residing near mountainous areas of possible flash floods from August 23 to 25.

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-- Tan Network 2010-08-24

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Court Office Defends Extradition Verdict

The court office says the extradition of an alleged Russian arms dealer to Washington can be delayed from the mandatory 90 days. It also insists the decision to extradite the suspect was free and fair.

Spokesperson for the Court of Justice, Sitthisak Wanachakit, said no party whether it be the Thai government or a foreign government has influenced the appeals court's order to extradite suspected Russian arms smuggler Viktor Bout to the United States.

Sithisak said the Bangkok Criminal Court first decided not to extradite the Russian stemmed from its ruling that the charges against him were political.

Political cases are exempted from the extradition agreement Thailand has with the United States. However, the Appeals Court has overturned the lower court's ruling and ordered Bout to be extradited to the US within 90 days.

He insisted the court is well aware that the country has good relations with both the United States and Russia, which disapproved of the extradition order.

The spokesperson also said the court is considering whether to continue to prosecute Bout on other charges.

If it decides to do so, the Russian will continue to be under Thailand's custody until the remaining cases are finalized.

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-- Tan Network 2010-08-24

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Viktor Bout sent to Bang Khwang Prison

BANGKOK (NNT) -- The Department of Corrections has ordered the transfer of suspected Russian arms smuggler, Viktor Bout to Bang Khwang Prison.

The Department on Monday reportedly transferred Mr Bout's from the Bangkok Remand Prison to the male’s top security Bang Khwang Prison amid highest possible level of security, Secretary to the Justice Minister, Colonel Fuangvich Aniruth-deva said.

Viktor Bout was arrested in Bangkok in 2008 for allegedly supplying weapons for the outlawed Colombian rebels.

The Appeal Court last Friday decided to extradite Mr Bout to the US within three months after the extradition request by the US was rejected by the Bangkok Criminal Court in 2009.

The extradition schedule, however, has been kept confidential due to safety concerns during the transfer.

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-- NNT 2010-08-24 footer_n.gif

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Court hearing for libel suit against PM, CRES members deferred

BANGKOK (NNT) -- The Criminal Court has postponed the deliberation of the libel case lodged against three government officials by a university lecturer to 15 November 2010.

The court today decided to defer its hearing in the defamation case against Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, Deputy Prime Minister and Director of the Center for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) Suthep Thaugsuban, and CRES Spokesperson Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd. The main reason was because the third defendant, Colonel Sansern, had yet appointed a lawyer to defend the case.

The lawsuit was filed with the Criminal Court by Mr Suthachai Yimprasert, lecturer of the Department of History, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, alleging the three high-ranking state officers of abusing their power. The plaintiff claimed that the defendants circulated leaflets with a list of persons behind a plot to topple the monarchy and falsely accused him of being one of them.

The court is set to start deliberating the case on 15 November at 9.00 hrs.

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-- NNT 2010-08-24 footer_n.gif

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Chiang Mai Red-shirt Group Holds Rally

The Chiang Mai red-shirt group has held an activity on the province's well-known walking street after the emergency rule was lifted. The group also vows to carry out more activities every week.

More than 300 red-shirt supporters in Chiang Mai, led by Sombut Boon-ngam-anong, gathered at the walking street yesterday after the state of emergency was revoked in the province.

A six-wheeled truck, installed with loudspeakers, was used to invite locals to join the gathering.

The group also asked Chiang Mai residents to investigate what they claimed is the government's killings of red-shirt protesters at Ratchaprasong Intersection. A photo exhibition and a satire play were also staged to mock the government's actions.

Moreover, Sombut led some members of the red-shirt group to march on the walking street and verbally attack the Democrat-led government.

The group also vowed to stage similar activities every week in the province.

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-- Tan Network 2010-08-24

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ROBBERY

Gunman steals Bt2.5m in gold

By The Nation

A gunman yesterday made off with gold ornaments worth Bt2.5 million from an Aurora gold shop at the Imperial Lat Phrao shopping mall.

Police officers, quoting staff at the shop, said the man, wearing a hood, black jacket and blue jeans, showed up at the shop before noon and pointed a pistol at them. He then said "Don't scream or I'll shoot," and ordered them to walk to the back of the shop.

Then he swept up neck-laces weighing more than 2 kilograms from the display counters.

He fled on a blue Honda Sonic motorcycle with an unidentified licence-plate number.

Police said this shop was in an area inside the mall that had many possible escape routes. A mugger arrested for stealing elsewhere a month ago had confessed to planning to rob this store, citing that as a reason.

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-- The Nation 2010-08-24

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MEDICAL BILL

Govt whip points out flaws in medical bill

By The Nation

A government whip yesterday said the draft bill on patients' protection rights, which has been put on the agenda for the House of Representatives in November, had some flaws that needed amending.

At a seminar held yesterday by the House Standing Committee on Public Health, Dr Warong Detkitwikrom said the merging of state and private hospitals' funds would be damaging.

He explained that the amounts demanded in lawsuits against private hospitals were far higher than the demands made of state hospitals, which meant private institutions would use up more of this fund.

Another flaw, Warong pointed out, was that the three sub-panels that are meant to discuss the draft bill do not include enough medical experts, adding that he agreed with Public Health Minister Jurin Laksanawisit's idea that all sides should hold talks and present their conclusions to the House committee.

Citing the National Health Security Office, which adds about Bt1 billion every year to its fund, Warong said only Bt80 million of that fund was spent per year. So if a new compensation fund were established, it would be like transferring NHSO burdens to that fund, he said.

Meanwhile, Private Hospitals Association president Dr Auechart Kanchanapitak said fund contributions should be made voluntarily. Private hospitals faced many lawsuits nowadays and each hospital had a system of dealing with them, whether by offering patients discounts or waiving the medical bill. They dealt with 10 to 20 cases per week.

Having private institutions contribute to the new fund according to the draft bill would be an added cost for them, he said.

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-- The Nation 2010-08-24

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Ministry to get new copter after crash

By Janjira Pongrai

The Nation

A new helicopter and an observer aircraft will be acquired by the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry after a helicopter crash last week in the Nan jungles that killed the permanent secretary and four other people.

A two-engine helicopter from France-based Eurocopter, with maritime operation capacity, will be received by the ministry next March under a Bt100-million budget from last year.

Another Bt148 million will be approved next year to purchase a 10-seat single-turboprop observer plane, but the model has not yet been decided. This aircraft, with an operational distance of 917 nautical miles and maximum payload of 685 kilograms, is capable of low-altitude flight to observe marine life.

After the helicopter crash, a ministry survey found there were fewer than eight helicopters still operational out of an inventory of 18. Deputy permanent secretary Chatree Chuayprasit said purchases of the new aircraft had been planned before the fatal accident.

He said the ministry would have 26 aircraft in total. The 14 operational machines would be overhauled and 12 new ones acquired by 2014.

A ministry investigation into the cause of the helicopter crash, headed by inspector-general Monthip Srirattana, is underway and will reach a finding soon, Chatree said.

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-- The Nation 2010-08-24

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BMA plans monorail, skywalk for Royal anniversary

By The Nation

Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) will sign a memorandum of understanding on Thursday with Chulalongkorn University on building the Siam-Samyan monorail, BMA spokesman Wasan Meewong said yesterday.

The city executives' meeting approved 14 projects to celebrate His Majesty the King's birthday anniversary on December 5, including the monorail project and the Pattanamuang skywalk, covering five sites. Design of the skywalk should be completed in September with construction beginning in December. The BMA will invest up to Bt2 billion on the monorail built on the university's property. It is working on the monorail garage site ahead of Cabinet approval to build the elevated transport system in the 25 square kilometre area which is beyond the government's "M-Map" transport master plan. In September, the city will hold a seminar for public opinion on the project while the Environmental Impact Assessment report should be complete by next May, he said. Construction should begin next year for completion before Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra's term ends, he added.

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-- The Nation 2010-08-24

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Seven dead from dengue last week, 230 cases a day

By The Nation

Seven people died from dengue fever last week, bringing the death toll from the disease across the Kingdom this year to 70, Public Health Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said yesterday.

Two of the dengue deaths last week were in Krabi, while further deaths were reported in Chiang Rai, Phetchabun, Lop Buri, Chachoengsao, and Nakhon Si Thammarat.

Some 60,000 people have caught the disease this year - 83 per cent more than last year, with an average of 230 new cases detected every day. The outbreak is so severe, Jurin has instructed provincial health chiefs to monitor and control it, as well as urging people with "suspicious" symptoms to see doctors immediately.

The regional breakdown was: 14,361 cases in the South, with 15,871 in the Central region, 8,843 cases in the North, and 15,517 cases in the Northeast. Of these, seven patients were less than 28 days old and 409 were over 65 years.

Narathiwat had the highest dengue fever patient increase in the first two weeks of August at 354 cases, Jurin said, followed by Phayao, Krabi, Chiang Rai, Rayong, Songkhla, Pattani, Phattalung, and Trat.

In the Central region, Kanchanaburi was said to have the most mosquito larva incubating grounds, followed by Chachoengsao, and Chon Buri. In the southern region, Phuket, Trang and Pattani had the most larva breeding grounds.

In the North, Kamphaeng Phet, Uthai Thani and Phichit had the most, while Surin, Chaiyaphum, Buri Ram and Nakhon Ratchasima had the most incubating grounds in the Northeast.

Jurin urged officials in these provinces to spray all areas where mosquito larva might incubate.

The chief of the 11th Disease Control Office in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Dr Panumas Yanawetsakul, said dengue fever in the southern province was so severe that Maharat Hospital and district hospitals could not provide sufficient beds for the patients, some of whom were placed in hallways. Muang, Lan Saka and Na Bon districts had the worst out-breaks and the province's total dengue fever toll was nine deaths (this year).

The seven provinces in the South had been hit hard by the disease, with 13 people dying this year - 9 in Nakhon Si Thammarat and 4 in Krabi.

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-- The Nation 2010-08-24

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VIOLENCE AFTERMATH

Anger over riot autopsy reports

By Pongphon Sarnsamak

The Nation

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Relatives, rights activists say DSI release not good enough

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